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Full text of "Scenes of wonder and curiosity in California. Illustrated with over one hundred engravings. A tourists guide to the Yo-Semite Valley"

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of 

New York. 

u ., 


SINCE the completion and appointments of the great 
Overland Railway have made travelling to the Pacific 
Slope easy, pleasant, speedy, and safe, a general desire has 
arisen for information concerning its remarkable scenery, 
the cost of travelling, distances, hotel charges, etc. 

The cordial reception this volume has received in Cali- 
fornia, where hitherto it has only been known, and the 
often expressed wish for its more general circulation, has 
led to the belief that a revised edition, giving the desired 
information, would supply a present need, and prove 
acceptable to the public. 

The author's twenty years' experience in California has 
made him familiar with its history and progress; a long 
time devoted to studying and sketching its most interest- 
ing features, and an actual residence of six years in the 
wonderful Yo-Semite, together with his loving appreciation 
of the beautiful, have very naturally fitted him to write 
instructively and feelingly upon the subject. 

Through his efforts, moreover, the attention of the 
public was first called to its sublime scenes, and for years 
he has, in many ways, been earnestly engaged in extending 
a knowledge of its glories. 

New York, May 2, 1870. 





How the Calaveras Big Tree Grove was first discovered Principal Routes to the 
Calaveras Grove Alcatraces Island Angel Island Red Rock Straits of 
Carquinez City of Benicia Monte Diablo Sailing up the San Joaquin 
City of Stockton Stockton to Murphy's Camp Road to the Mammoth-Tree 
Grove The Mammoth-Tree Grove The Great South Grove 9 


Discovery and Location of the Caves of Calaveras The Entrance The Council 
Chamber The Cathedral The Bishop's Palace The Bridal Chamber 
Musical Hall The Hotel 51 


Scenery around the Natural Bridges The Upper Bridge The Lower Bridge.. . . 56 


THE TO-SEMITB YALLEY, and Circumstances that led to its Discovery The 
Mariposa Indian War Things to Know before Starting on the Tour Outline 
Map and Table of Distances by the different Routes Travelling Fares and 
Time by the different Routes Kinds and Amounts of Personal Baggage 
desirable : Hotel Charges in San Francisco, Yo-Semite, and while Travelling 
See the Route Agent The Country between Stockton and Yo-Semite 
The Tuolumne South Grove of Big Trees and Road through it Hints How 
to secure Enjoyment on the Trip Descending the Mountain Ride up the 
Yalley Outline Map of the Yalley The First Night in the Yalley What 
to do and see on the First Day Walk to the Foot of the Lower Yo-Semite 
Fall The Second Day: Mirror Lake, the Legend of Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah and 
Tis-sa-ack, the Bridal Yeil Fall Third Day : Yisit to the Yernal and Nevada 
Falls, Ascent of the " Cap of Liberty," the Country above the Nevada Fall, 
the Little Yo-Semite Yalley Fourth Day: Yisit to the Tu-lool-we-ack or 
South Canon Fall, the South Dome from the South Canon Fifth Day : Ride 
to Mount Beatitude and Inspiration Point Yiew from thence Sixth 
Day : Trip to the Top of the Yo-Semite Fall, what seen when there 
Seventh Day : To the Foot of the Upper Yo-Semite, the Glorious Yiew 
Eighth Day: Climb to the Top of Glacial Point and Sentinel Dome, Promi- 
nent Peaks visible What Chas. Loring Brace says about Yo-Semite, also 
an English Gentleman Comparison between Yo-Semite and different Scenes 
in Switzerland Attempt to Climb the South Dome Summary of Yo-Semite, 
and How the Name is Pronounced Table of Altitudes at Yo-Semite, 
including all the Principal Falls and Mountain Points Departure from it. . . 61 




The Discovery of the Mariposa and Frezno Groves of Mammoth Trees The 
Mariposa Grove The South Grove Visit to the Frezno Grove The Ten 
Different Groves of Big Trees in California ]72 


Route to New Almaden San Jose An Old Saw The Discovery and Ownership 
of the New Almaden Mine Process of Extracting Quicksilver The Road 
to the Mine Process of Working the Mine The Henriquita Quicksilver 
Mine Dedicatory Ceremony of Blessing the Mine 184 


Mount Shasta Ascent of Mount Shasta, Alone 203 


Sail through the Golden Gate Crossing the Bar Don't-care-ishness Visits 
from the Birds Arrival at the Islands The Sea Lions The Hair Seal 
Birds and their Eggs Wildness of the Scenes The North Farallones 210 


In and around San Francisco Ride to the Cliff House The Sea Lions The 
Beach The Broad Pacific The Old Mission Dolores Woodward's Gar- 
dens Views from the Bay of San Francisco The Presidio Sights from 
Telegraph Hill Excursion to Tamed Pais 230 


The California Geysers Scenes on the Way Foss, the Driver The Hotel Gey- 
ser Canon, its Unearthly Appearance, Proximity to a Warm Place, its Nu- 
merous Kinds of Springs Strange Sounds Distances, and Cost 245 


The Riffle-Box Waterfall 262 


Lake Tahoe 264 


Alabaster Cave Discovery of the Cave Scenery on the Sacramento River Sal- 
mon Fishing The Hog's Back Steamboat Slough A Ride on the Sacra- 
mento Valley Railroad Folsom The Stage Ride to the Cave The Beau- 
tiful Formations The Wonderful "Dungeon of Enchantment, " and " Crystal 
Chapel" 268 

Errata. . . 292 



1. Section of the Mammoth Tree at the Calaveras Grove 9 

2. River Steamboats leaving the Broadway Wharf, San Francisco 15 

3. Alcatraces Island 16 

4. Red Rock; 20 

5. The Two Sisters ; 21 

6. Straits of Carquinez 21 

7. City of Benicia 23 

8. Monte Diablo 26 

9. Night Scene on the San Joaquin River 31 

10. The City of Stockton 33 

11. A Prairie Schooner 35 

12. Hotel at Calaveras Grove of Big Trees 41 

13. Cotillion Party on the Stump of the Mammoth Tree 42 

14. "Workmen Felling the Mammoth Tree 43 

15. Bowling Alley on the Trunk of Mammoth Tree 44 

16. The Father of the Forest 46 

1 7. Cone and Foliage of the Mammoth Trees 47 

18. The Three Graces 49 

19. Entrance to the Calaveras Cave 52 

20. The Bridal Chamber in the Calaveras Cave 54 

2 1. Hotel at the Calaveras Cave. 55 

22* Upper Side of Upper Natural Bridge on Cayote Creek 56 

23. Lower Side of Upper Natural Bridge 58 

24. Upper Side of Lower Natural Bridge 09 

25. Distant Yiew of the Yo-Semite Waterfall. 61 

26. Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah 71 

27. Outline Map of Routes to Yo-Semite and Big Trees 80 

28. Ho 1 for Yo-Semite 103 

29. Descending the Mountain to Yo-Semite 104 

30. River Scene at the Foot of the Trail 106 



31. Pom-pom-pa-sus ; or, The Three Brothers ' 108 

32. Distant View of Pohono ; or, The Bridal Veil Fall 109 

33. The Ferry 110 

34. Outline Map of Yo-Semite Valley and Surroundings Ill 

35. Ford of Yo-Semite Creek 114 

36. Near View of the Yo-Semite Fall 115 

37. Lake Ah-wi-yah, or Mirror Lake 119 

38. The Sentinel 124 

39. Near View of the Pohono. or Bridal Veil Fall 127 

40. River Scene near Old Bridge 129 

41. The Pi-wy-ack, or Vernal Fall 131 

42. The Ladders 132 

43. Merced River rushing through the G-orge at Diamond Flume 133 

44. The Yo-wi-ye, or Nevada Fall '. 134 

45. The South Dome as seen from the South Canon 139 

46. The Tu-lool-we-ack, or -South Canon Fall 140 

47. General View of the Yo-Semite Valley 144 

48. Indian Canon .' 146 

49. The North and South Domes from the Valley 152 

50. Taking the Indian Trail up the Mountain 164 

51. Ascending the Lower Dome. . 167 

52. Looking down the Valley toward Cathedral Rocks 170 

53. Scene in the Frezno Grove of Mammoth Trees 172 

54. The Twins in the Mariposa Grove of Mammoth Trees 175 

55. Satan's Spear 176 

56. The Grizzled Giant 181 

57. Metal Yard and Entrance to the New Almaden Mine 184 

58. San Jose, Santa Clara County 186 

59. General View of the Quicksilver "Works at New Almaden 188 

60. Section of Quicksilver Smelting Furnace 189 

61. Mexicans weighing Quicksilver 190 

62. The Shrine of Senora de Guadalupe 192 

63. Miners taking out Quicksilver Ore 194 

64. Tenateros carrying the Ore from the Mine. 1 95 

65. The Henriquita Quicksilver Mine on the Morning of Dedication 201 

66. Mount Shasta 203 

67. The South Farallone Islands, from Big Rookery ,. 210 



68. Clipper Ship crossing the Bar at the Entrance of the Bay of San Francisco. . 212 

69. Enchanted with the delightful Prospect off the Bar 214 

70. South-east View of the Farallone Islands 215 

71. Man in a Tight Place 217 

72. Sea Lions and their Toung. 218 

73. The Hair Seal of the Pacific 219 

74. The Murre, or Foolish Guillemot .' 222 

75. Murre's Egg, natural size 223 

76. The Tufted Puffin 224 

77. Yiew from West End of Farallone Islands 225 

78. View from the North Landing of Farallone Islands 227 

79. South View of Fort Point and the Golden Gate 230 

80. The Drive along the Beach 234 

81. The Ocean House 235 

82. The Old Mission Church and Out-buildings '. 236 

83. General View of the Mission Dolores 238 

84. San Francisco Industrial School 240 

85. The Presidio 242 

86. The Witches' Cauldron at the Geyser Springs 245 

87. The Steamboat " Rambler " navigating Petaluma Creek 248 

88. Ray's Ranch, and the Russian River Valley 251 

89. The Geyser Springs Hotel 255 

90. Geyser Canon 256 

91. Proserpine's Grotto ... 257 

92. View of Clear Lake, from the Bridge near the Geysers 260 

93. The Riffle-Box Waterfall. 262 

94. Lake Tahoe 264 

95. The Pulpit in Alabaster Cave. 268 

96. Lower Junction of the Main Sacramento and Steamboat Slough 273 

97. Night Scene on the Sacramento River 274 

98. Salmon Fishing Paying out the Seine 275 

99. Salmon Fishing Hauling in the Seine 276 

100. Group of Salmon on the Banks of the Sacramento 277 

101. Upper Junction of the main Sacramento and Steamboat Slough 280 

102. Levee Scene at Sacramento City 282 

103. The Alabaster Lime-Kiln by Moonlight 286 

104. The Crystal Chapel in the Alabaster Cave , . . 291 




From PhotograpJi by T. Houseworth & Co. 


;;;: CHAPTEK i. 

^ . ^ " God of the forest's solemn shade ! 
i b \ The grandeur of the lonely tree, 

That wrestles singly with the gale, 
Lifts up admiring eyes to Thee , 
- l\ But more majestic far they stand, 

t i' When, side by side their ranks they form 

* * * To wave on high their plumes of green, 

And fight their battles with the storm." 


IT is much to be questioned if the discovery of any wonder, in 
any part of the world, has ever elicited as much general interest, 
or created so strong a tax upon the credulity of mankind, as the 
discovery of the mammoth trees of California. Indeed, those who 
first mentioned the fact of their existence, whether by word of 
mouth or by letter, were looked upon as near, very near, relatives 
of Baron Munchausen, Captain -Gulliver, or the celebrated Don 
Quixote. The statement had many times to be repeated, and 
well corroborated, before it could be received as true ; and there 
are many persons who, to this very day, look upon it as as a some- 
what doubtful " California story ;" such, we never expect to con- 
vince of the realities we are about to illustrate and describe, al- 
though we do so from our own personal knowledge and observa- 


In the spring of 1852, Mr. A. T. Dowd, a hunter, was employed 
by the Union Water Company, of Murphy's Camp, Calaveras 
county, to supply the workmen engaged in the construction of 
their canal, with fresh meat, from the large quantities of game 
running wild on the upper portion of their works. Having 
wounded a bear, and while industriously following in pursuit, lie 


suddenly came upon one of those immense trees, that have since 
become so justly celebrated throughout the civilized world. All 
thoughts of hunting were absorbed and lost in the wonder and' 
surprise inspired by the scene. " Surely," he mused," this must 
be some curiously delusive dream !" but the great realities stand- 
ing there before him, were convincing proof, beyond a doubt, 
that they were no mere fanciful creations of his imagination. 

When he returned to camp, and there related the wonders he 
had seen, his companions laughed at him and doubted his vera- 
city, which previously they had considered to be very reliable. 
He affirmed his statement to be true, but they still thought it 
" too much of a story" to believe thinking that he was trying to 
perpetrate upon them some first of April joke. 

For a day or two he allowed the matter to rest submitting, 
with chuckling satisfaction, to the occasional jocular allusions to 
" his big tree yarn," and continued his hunting as formerly. On 
the Sunday morning following, he went out early as usual, and 
returned in haste, evidently excited by some event. " Boys," 
he exclaimed, " I have killed the largest grizzly bear that I ever 
saw in my life. While I am getting a little something to eat, 
you make preparations to bring him in. All had better go that 
can possibly be spared, as their assistance will certainly be 

As the big tree story was now almost forgotten, or by common 
consent laid aside as a subject of conversation ; and, moreover, as 
Sunday was a leisure day and one that generally hangs the 
heaviest of the seven on those who are shut out from social in- 
tercourse with friends, as many, many Californians unfortunately 
are the tidings were gladly welcomed ; especially as the propo- 
sition was suggestive of a day's excitement. 

Nothing loath, they were soon ready for the start. The camp 
was almost deserted. On, on they hurried, with Dowd as their 
guide, through thickets and pine groves ; crossing ridges and 
canons, flats and ravines; each relating in turn the adventures 
experienced, or heard of from companions, with grizzly bears and 
other formidable tenants of the forests and wilds of the moun- 


tains ; until their leader came to a dead halt at the foot of the 
tree he had seen, and to them had related the size. Pointing to 
the immense trunk and lofty top, he cried out, " Boys, do you now 
believe my big tree story ? That is the large grizzly I wanted 
you to see. Do you still think it a yarn?" 

Thus convinced, their doubts were changed to amazement, and 
their conversation from bears to trees ; afterward confessing that, 
although they had been caught by a ruse of their leader, they 
were abundantly rewarded by the gratifying sight they had 
witnessed ; and as other trees were found equally as large, they 
became willing witnesses, not only to the entire truthfulness of 
Mr. Dowd's account, but also to the fact, that, like the confession 
of a certain Persian queen concerning the wisdom of Solomon, 
" the half had not been told." 

Mr. Lewis, one of the party above alluded to, after seeing these 
gigantic forest patriarchs, conceived the idea of removing the 
bark from one of the trees, and of taking it to the Atlantic states 
for exhibition, and invited Dowd to join him in the enterprise. 
This was declined ; but, while Mr. Lewis was engaged in obtain- 
ing a suitable partner, some one from Murphy's Camp to whom 
he had confided his intentions and made known his plans, took up 
a posse of men early the next morning to the spot described by 
Mr. Lewis, and, after locating a quarter section of land, imme- 
diately commenced the removal of the bark, after attempting to 
dissuade Lewis from the undertaking.* This underhanded pro- 
ceeding induced Lewis to visit the large tree at Santa Cruz, dis- 
covered by Fremont, for the purpose of competing, if possible, 
with his quondam friend / but finding that tree, although large, 
only nineteen feet in diameter and 286 feet in height, while that 
in Calaveras county was thirty feet in diameter and 302 feet in 
height, he then turned his steps to some trees reputed to be the 
greatest in magnitude in the state, growing near Trinidad, KLamath 

* In the winter of 1854, we met Mr. Lewis in Yreka, and from his own lips received 
this account; and we think it no more than simple justice to him here to make a 
record of the fact, that such an unfair and ungentlemanly violation of confidence may 
be both known and censured, as it well deserves to be. 


county ; but the largest of these he found only to measure about 
twenty-four feet in diameter, and two hundred and seventy-nine 
feet in height ; consequently, much discouraged, and after spend- 
ing about five hundred dollars and several weeks' time, he even- 
tually abandoned his undertaking. 

But a short season was allowed to elapse after the discovery 
of this remarkable grove, before the trumpet-tongued press pro- 
claimed the wonder to all sections of the state, and to all parts 
of the world ; and the lovers of the marvellous began first to 
doubt, then to believe, and afterward to flock from the various 
districts of California, that they might see, with their own eyes, 
the objects of which they had heard so much. 

'No pilgrims to Mohammed's tomb at Mecca, or to the reputed 
vestment of our Saviour at Treves, or to the Juggernaut of Hin- 
dostan, ever manifested more interest in the superstitious objects 
of their veneration, than the intelligent and devout worshippers 
of the wonderful in nature and science, of our own country, in 
their visit to the Mammoth-Tree Grove of Calaveras county, high 
up in the Sierras. 

Murphy's Camp, then known as an obscure though excellent 
mining district, was lifted into notoriety by its proximity to, and 
as the starting-point for, the Big-Tree Grove, and consequently 
was the centre of considerable attraction to visitors. 


As very many persons will doubtless wish to visit these re- 
markable places, and as we cannot in this brief work describe all 
the various routes to these great natural marvels, from every vil- 
lage, town, and city in the state for they are almost as numerous 
and diversified as the different roads that Christians seem to 
take to their expected heaven, and the multitudinous creeds about 
the way and manner of getting there we shall content ourselves 
by giving the principal ones ; and, after having recited the follow- 
ing quaint and unanswerable argument of a celebrated divine to 
the querulous and uncharitably disposed members of his flock, we 
shall, with the reader's kind permission, proceed on our journey. 


" There was a Christian brother a Presbyterian who walkecj 
up to the gate of the New Jerusalem, and knocked for admittance, 
when an angel who was in charge, looked down from above and 
inquired what he wanted. ( To come in,' was the answer. ' Who 
and what are you ?' i A. Presbyterian.' ' Sit on that seat there/ 
This was on the outside of the gate ; and the good man feared 
that he had been refused admittance. Presently arrived an 
Episcopalian, then a Baptist, then a Methodist, and so on, until a 
representative of every Christian sect had made his appearance ; 
and were, alike ordered to take a seat outside. Before they had 
long been there," continued the good man, " a loud anthem broke 
forth, rolling and swelling upon the air, from the choir within ; 
when those outside immediately joined in the chorus. ' Oh !' 
said the angel, as he opened wide the gate, ' I did not know you 
by your names, but you have all learned one song come in! 
come in ! The name you bear, or the way by which you came, 
is of little consequence compared with your being here at all.' 
As you, my brethren," the good man went on " as you expect 
to live peaceably and lovingly together in heaven, you had better 
begin to practice it on earth. I have done." 

As this allegorical advice needs no words of application either 
to the traveller or the Christian, in the hope that the latter will 
take the admonition of Captain Cuttle, " and make a note on't," 
and an apology to the reader for this digression, we will enter at 
once upon our pleasing task. 

Those who start from San Francisco, for the Yo-Semite Valley 
or the Mammoth-Tree Groves, should first proceed to Stockton. 
This can be done by two routes : one via the Western Pacific 
railroad, and the other by steamboat. If the former, the distance 
is ninety miles, time four hours, ten minutes, and the starting point 
is the Alameda Ferry, at eight o'clock, A.M., and four o'clock, P.M. 
If the latter, you repair to the Broadway wharf a little before four 
o'clock, P.M., and the boat will arrive in Stockton in time next 
morning for the six o'clock stage. This having been the route most 
generally traveled, we shall confine our attention mainly to it. 

There probably is not a more exciting and bustling scene of 





business activity in any part of the world, than can be witnessed 
on almost any day, Sunday excepted, at Broadway street wharf, 
San Francisco, at a few minutes before four o'clock P.M. Men 
and women are hurrying to and fro; drays, carriages, express- 
wagons, and horsemen, dash past you with as much rapidity and 
earnestness as though they were the bearers of a reprieve to some 
condemned criminal, whose last moment of life had nearly ex- 
pired, and, by its speedy delivery, thought they could save him 
from the scaffold. Indeed, one would suppose, by the apparent 
recklessness of manner in riding and driving through the crowd, 
that numerous limbs would be broken, and carriages made into 
pieces as small as mince-meat ; but yet, to your surprise, nothing 
of the kind occurs, for, on arriving at the smallest real obstacle to 



their progress, animals are suddenly reined in, with a promptness 
that astonishes you. 

On these occasions, too, there is almost sure to be one or more 
intentional passengers that arrive just too late to get aboard, and 
who, in their excitement, often throw an overcoat or valise on 
the boat, or overboard, but neglect to embrace the only opportune 
moment to get on board themselves, and are consequently left 
behind, as these boats are always punctual to their time of starting. 

With the reader's consent, as he may be a stranger to the vari- 
ous scenes of our beautiful California, we will bear him company, 
and explain some of the objects we may see. As it is always cool 
in San Francisco on a summer afternoon, we would invite him to 
please put on his overcoat or cloak, and let us take a cosy seat 
together 011 deck ; and, while the black volumes of smoke are 
rolling from the tops of the funnels, and our boat is shooting past 
this wharf, and that vessel now lying at anchor in the bay, or, 
while numerous nervous people are troubled about their baggage, 
asking the porter all sorts of questions, let us have a quiet chat 
upon the sights we may witness on our trip. 

The first object of interest that we find after leaving the wharves 
of the city behind, is 



This, we see, is just opposite the Golden Gate, atad about half 
way between San Francisco and Angel Island. It commands the 


entrance to the great bay of San Francisco, and is but three and a 
half miles from Fort Point. 

This island is one hundred and forty feet in height above low 
tide, four hundred and fifty feet in width, and sixteen hundred 
and fifty feet in length ; somewhat irregular in shape, and forti- 
fied on all sides. The large building on its summit, about the 
centre or crest of the island, is a defensive barracks or citadel, 
three stories high, and in time of peace will accommodate about 
two hundred men, and, in time of war, at least three times that 
number. It is not only a shelter for the soldiers, and will with- 
stand a respectable cannonade, but from its top a murderous fire 
could be poured upon its assailants at all parts of the island, and 
from whence every point of it is visible. There is a belt of forti- 
fications encircling the island, consisting of a series of Barbette 
batteries, mounting, altogether, about ninety-four guns twenty- 
four, forty-two, sixty-eight, and one hundred and thirty-two 

The first building that you notice, after landing at the wharf, is 
a massive brick and stone guard-house, shot and shell proof, well 
protected by a heavy gate and drawbridge, and having three em- 
brasures for twenty-four pound howitzers, that command the 
approach from the wharf. The top of this, like the barracks, is 
flat, for the use and protection of riflemen. Other guard-houses, 
of similar construction, are built at different points, between which 
there are long lines of parapets sufficiently high to preclude the 
possibility of an escalade ; and back of which are circular plat- 
forms for mounting guns of the heaviest calibre, some of which 
weigh from nine to ten .thousand pounds. In addition to these, 
there are three bomb-proof magazines, each of which will hold 
ten thousand pounds of powder. On the south-eastern side of the 
island is a large furnace for the purpose of heating cannon balls, 
and other similar contrivances are in course of construction. 

Unfortunately, there is no natural supply of water on the island, 
so that all of that element which is used there is taken from 
Saucelito. In the basement of the barracks is a cistern, capa- 
ble of holding fifty thousand gallons of water, a portion of 


which can be supplied from the roof of that building in the rainy 

Appropriations have been made for the fortification of this 
island, to the amount of eight hundred and ninety-six thousand 
dollars; and about one hundred thousand dollars more will com- 
plete them. From forty to two hundred men have been employed 
upon these works since their commencement in 1853. 

At the south-eastern end of the island is a fog-bell, of about the 
same weight as that at Fort Point, which is regulated to strike by 
machinery once in about every fifteen seconds. 

The whole of the works on this .island are under the skilful 
superintendence of Lieutenant McPherson, who very kindly ex- 
plained to us the strength and purposes of the different fortifica- 
tions made. 

The lighthouse, at the south of the barracks, contains a Fresnel 
lantern of the third order, and which can be seen, on a clear 
night, some twelve miles outside the heads, and is of great service 
in suggesting the course of a vessel when entering the bay. 

Yet, as we are sailing on at considerable speed across the 
entrance to the bay, toward Angel Island, we must not linger 
here, even in imagination ; especially as we can now look out 
through the far-famed Golden Gate; the golden-hinged hope of 
many, who, with lingering eyes, have longed to look upon it, and 
to enter through its charmed portals to this land of gold. How 
many, too, have longed and hoped, for years, to pass it once 
again, on their way out to the endeared and loving hearts that 
wait to welcome them, at that dear spot they still call "Homef 
God bless them ! 

Now the vessel is in full sail, and steamships that are entering 
the heads, as well as those within that are tacking, now on this 
stretch, and now on that, to make way out against the strong 
north-west breeze that blows in at the Golden Gate for five-eighths 
of the year, are fast being lost to sight, and we are just abreast of 


This island, but five miles from the city of San Francisco, was 


granted by Governor Alvarado to Antonio M. Asio, by order of 
the government of Mexico, in 1837 ; and by him sold to its present 
owners in 1853. As it contains some eight hundred acres of ex- 
cellent land, it is by far the largest and most valuable of any in 
the bay of San Francisco, and the green wild oats that grow to its 
very summit, in early spring, give excellent pasturage to stock of 
all kinds; while the natural springs, at different points, afford 
abundance of water at all seasons. At the present time there are 
about five hundred sheep roaming over its fertile hills. A large 
portion of the land is susceptible of cultivation, for grain and 

From the inexhaustible quarries of hard, blue, and brown 
sandstone that here abound, have been taken nearly all of the 
stone used in the foundations of the numerous buildings in San 
Francisco. The extensive fortifications at Alcatraces Island, Fort 
Point, and other places, have been faced with it ; and the exten- 
sive government works at Mare Island have been principally 
built with stone from these quarries ; yet many thousands of tons 
will be required from the same source, before the fortifications and 
other government works are completed. Clay is also found in 
abundance, and of an excellent quality for making bricks. 

In 1856 Angel Island was surveyed by United States Engineers, 
for the purpose of locating sites for two twenty-four gun batteries, 
which are in the line of fortifications required, before our magnifi- 
cent harbor may be considered as fortified. The most important 
of these batteries will be on the north-west point of the island, and 
will command Racqpon Straits ; and, until this is built, our navy 
yard at Mare Island, and even the city of San Francisco itself, 
cannot be considered safe, inasmuch as, through these straits, ships 
of war could easily enter; if, by means of the heavy fog that so 
frequently hangs over the entrance to the bay, or other cause, 
they once passed Fort Point in safety. But here we are just 


This singular looking island was formerly called Treasure, or 
Golden Rock, in old charts, from a traditionary report being cir- 



dilated of some large treasure having been once carried there, by 
early Spanish navigators. In charts of recent date, however, it is 
sometimes called Molate Island, but is now more generally known 
as Red Rock, from its general color. 

There are several strata of rock, of different colors if rock it 
can be called one of which is very fine, and resembles an article 
sometimes found upon a lady's toilet-table of course in earlier 
days known as rouge-powder. Besides this there are several 
strata of a species of clay or colored pigment, of from four to 
twelve inches in thickness, and of various colors. Upon the beach 
numerous small red pebbles, very much resembling cornelian, are 
found. There can be but little wonder it should be called " Red 
Rock," by plain, matter-of-fact people like ourselves. It is cov- 
ered with wild oats to its summit, on which is planted a flag-staff 
and cannon. Several years ago its locater and owner, Mr. 
Selim E. Woodworth, took about half a dozen tame rabbits over to 
it, from San Francisco, and now there are several hundred. 

As Mr. Woodworth, before becoming a benedict, made this his 
place of residence, he partially graded its apparently inaccessible 
sides ; and at different points planted several ornamental trees. 
A small bachelor's cabin stands near the water's edge, and as this 
affords the means of cooking fish and sundry other dishes, its 
owner, and a small party of friends, pay it an occasional visit for 
fishing and general recreation. Several sheep roam about on the 
island ; and, as they seldom drink water, they do not feel the loss 
of that which nature has here failed to supply. 

But on, on, we sail, and pass Maria Island and the Two Sisters. 



After leaving these behind, and shooting by Point San Pablo, 
we enter the large bay of that name ; and are charmed with the 
fine table and grazing lands on our right, at the foot of the 
Contra Costa range of hills. 



Just before entering the Straits of Carqninez, that connects the 

bays of San Pablo and Suisnn, on onr left, we obtain a glimpse 

-he government works at Mare Island and the town of Yalkjo; 


but as we shall probably have something to say about these points 
at some future time, we will now take a look at the straits. As 
the stranger approaches these for the first time, he makes up his 
mind that the vessel on which he stands is out of her course, and 
is certainly running toward a bluff, and will soon be in trouble 
if she does not change her course, but as he advances and the 
entrance to this narrow channel becomes visible, he concludes 
that a few moments ago he entertained a very foolish idea. 

Now, however, the bell of the steamboat and a porter both 
announce that we are coming near Benicia, and that those who 
intend disembarking here, had better have their baggage and their 
ticket in readiness. 


One would suppose as the boat nears the wharf that she is 
going to run " right into it," but soon she moves gracefully round 
and is made fast ; but while those ashore, and those aboard, are 
eagerly scanning each other, to see if there is any familiar face to 
which to give the nod of recognition, or the cordial waving of the 
hand in friendly greeting, we will take our seats, and say a word 
or two about this city. 

Benecia was founded, in the fall of 1847, by the late Thomas 
O. Larkin and Roland Semple (who was also the originator and 
editor of the first California newspaper published at Monterey, 
August 15th, 1846, entitled The California^, upon land donated 
them for the purpose by General M. G. Yallejo, and named in 
honor of the general's estimable lady. 

In 1848, a number of families took up their residence here. 
During the fall of that year a public school was established, 
which has been continued uninterruptedly to the present. In the 
ensuing spring a Presbyterian church was organized, and has 
continued under its original pastor to the present time. 

The peculiarly favorable position of Benicia recommended it, at 
an early day, as a suitable place for the general military head- 
quarters of the United States, upon the Pacific. Being alike 
convenient of access both to the sea-board and interior, and far 
enough from the coast to be secure against sudden assault in time 



of war, it was seen that no more favorable position could be 
selected, as adapted to all contingencies. These views met the ap- 
proval of the general government ; and accordingly extensive store- 
houses were built, military posts established, and arrangements 
made for erecting here the principal arsenal on the Pacific coast. 

There already are erected 
barracks for the soldiers, 
and officers' quarters ; two 
magazines, capable of hold- 
ing from six thousand to 
seven thousand barrels of 
gunpowder of one hundred 
pounds each ; two store- 
houses filled with gun-car- 
riages, cannon, ball, and sev- 
eral hundred stand of small 
arms; besides workshops, etc. 
About one hundred men 
have been employed, under 
the superintendence of Cap- 
tain F. D. Calender, in the 
construction of an arsenal 
two hundred feet in length 
by sixty feet in width, and 
three stories in height, suit- 
ably provided with towers, 
loop-holes, windows, etc. Be- 
sides this, a large citadel is 
in course of erection. Two 
hundred and twenty-five 
thousand dollars have al- 
ready been appropriated to 
these works, and they will 
most probably require as 
much more before the whole 
is completed. 


Here, too, are ten highly and curiously ornamented bronze can- 
non, six eight-pounders and four four-pounders, that were brought 
originally from old Spain, and taken at Fort Point during our war 
with Mexico. The following names and dates, besides coats of 
arms, etc., are inscribed on some of them : 

" San Martin, Ano. D. 1684." 

" Poder, Ano. D. 1693." 

" San Francisco, Ano. D. 1673." 

" San Domengo, Ano. D. 1679." 

u San Pedro, Ano. D. 1628." 

As the barracks are merely a depot for the reception and trans- 
mission of troops, it is difficult to say how many soldiers are 
quartered here at any one time. 

There are numerous other interesting places about Benicia, one 
of which is the extensive works of the Pacific Mail Steamship 
Company, where all the repairs to their vessels are made, coal 
deposited, etc., etc. 

In 1853, Benicia was chosen the capital of the state by our 
peripatetic legislature, and continued to hold that position for 
about a year, when it was taken to Sacramento, where it still (for 
a wonder) remains. 

And, though last, by no means the least important feature of 
Benicia, is the widely-known and deservedly flourishing boarding- 
school for young ladies, the Benicia Seminary, under the charge 
of Mr. and Mrs. Mills, founded in 1852, and in which several 
young ladies have taken graduating honors. 

Next to this is St. Augustine's College for young men, under the 
superintendence of Rev. Dr. Breck, and which was established in 
1853 ; adjoining which is the college of Notre Dame, for the edu- 
cation of Catholic children. These, united to the excellent 
sentiments of the people, make Benicia a favorite place of resi- 
dence for families. 


Nearly opposite to Benicia, and distant only three miles, is the 
pretty agricultural village of Martinez, the county-seat of Contra 
Costa county. A week among the live-oaks, gardens, and farms 


in and around this lovely spot, will convince the most sceptical 
that there are few more beautiful places in any part of the state. 
A steam ferry-boat plies across the straits between this place and 
Benicia, every hour in the day. The Stockton boat always used 
to touch here both going and returning. 

The run across the Straits of Carquinez, from Benicia to Mar- 
tinez, three miles distant, takes about ten minutes. Then, after 
a few moments' delay, we again dash onward the moonlight 
gilding the troubled waters in the wake of our vessel, as she 
plows her swift way through the Bay of Suisun, and to all appear- 
ance deepens the shadows on the darker sides of Monte Diablo, 
by defining, with silvery clearness, the uneven ridges and summit 
of that solitary mountain mass. 

But now we must hurry on our way, as the steamboat is by 
this time passing the different islands in the Bay of Suisun, named 
as follows : Preston Island, King's, Simmons', Davis', Washing- 
ton, Knox's, Jones', and Sherman's Island ; while on our right, 
boldly distinct in outline and form, stands 


Almost every Californiaii has seen Monte Diablo. It is the 
great central landmark of the state. Whether we are walking in 
the streets of San Francisco, or sailing on any of our bays and 
navigable rivers, or riding on any of the roads in the Sacramento 
and San Joaquin Valleys, or standing -on the elevated ridges of 
the mining districts before us in lonely boldness, and at almost 
every turn, we see Monte del Diablo. Probably from its apparent 
omnipresence we are indebted to its singular name, Mount of the 

Viewed from the north-west or south-east, it appears double, or 
with two elevations, the points of which are about three miles 
apart. The south-western peak is the most elevated, and is three 
thousand seven hundred and sixty feet above the sea. 

For the purpose of properly surveying the state into a net- 
work of township lines, three meridians or initial points were 
established by the United States Survey, namely : Monte Diablo, 



Mount San Bernardino, and Mount Pierce, Humboldt county. 
Across the highest peaks of each of these, a " meridian line" and 
a " base line" were run ; the latter from east to west, and the 
former from north to south. The boundaries of the Monte Diablo 
meridian include all the lands in the great Sacramento and San 
Joaquin Valleys, between the Coast Range and the Sierras, and 
from the Siskiyou Mountains to the San Bernardino meridian, at 
the head of the Tulare Valley. 

The geological formation of this mountain is what is usually 
termed " primitive ;" surrounded by sedimentary rocks, abound- 
ing in marine shells. Near the summit there are a few quartz 
veins, but whether gold-bearing or not has not yet been deter- 
mined. About one-third of the distance from the top, on the 
western slope, is a " hornblende" rock of peculiar structure, and 
said by some to contain gold. In the numerous spurs at the 
base, there is an excellent and inexhaustible supply of limestone. 

At the eastern foot of the mountains, about five miles from the 
San Joaquin River, several veins of coal have been discovered, 
and are now being worked with good prospects of remuneration, 


as the veins grow thicker and the quality better, as they proceed 
with their labors. 

It is said that copper ore and cinnabar have both been found 
here, but with what truth we are unable to determine. Some 
Spaniards have reported that they know of some rich mineral 
there ; but do not tell of what kind, and, for reasons best known 
to themselves, will neither communicate their secret to others nor 
work it themselves. 

If the reader has no objection, we will climb the mountain at 
least in imagination, as the captain, although an obliging man 
enough, will not detain the boat for us to ascend it de facto and 
see what further discoveries we can make. 

Provided with good horses always make sure of the latter on 
any trip you may make, reader an excellent telescope, and a 
liberal allowance of luncheon, let us leave the beautiful village of 
Martinez at seven o'clock A.M. For the first four miles, we ride 
over a number of pretty and gently rolling hills, at a lively gait, 
and arrive at the Pacheco Valley, on the edge of which stands 
the flourishing little village of Pacheco. We now dash across the 
valley at good speed for eight miles, in a south-east direction, and 
reach the western foot of Monte Diablo, after a good hour's 
pleasant ride. 

For the first mile and a half of our ascent we have a good 
wagon road, built in 1852, to give easy access to a quartz lead, 
from which considerable rock was taken in wagons to the Bay of 
Suisun, and, after being shipped to San Francisco, for the pur- 
pose of being tested, was found to contain gold, but not in suffi- 
cient quantities to pay for working it ; for the next two miles, a 
good, plain trail to the main summit, passes several clear springs 
of cold water. 

From the numerous tracks of the grizzly bears that were seen 
at the springs, we may naturally conclude that such animals have 
their sleeping apartments among the bunches of chaparal in the 
canons yonder : and, if we should see the track-makers before we 
return, we hope our companions will keep up their courage and 
sufficient presence of mind to prevent themselves imitating Mr. 


Grizzly at the spring at least not in the direction of the settle- 
ments and leave us alone in our glory. 

As you will perceive, the summit of the mountain is reached 
without the necessity of dismounting ; and as there are wild oats 
all around, and the stores of sundries provided have not been lost 
or left behind, suppose we rest and refresh ourselves, and allow 
our animals to do the same. 

The sight of the glorious panorama unrolled at our feet, we need 
not tell you, amply repays us for our early ride. As we look 
around us, we may easily imagine that perhaps the priests who 
named this mountain may have climbed it, and as they saw the 
wonders spread out before them, recalled to memory the following 
passage of holy writ: "The devil taketh him [Jesus] up into an 
exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of 
the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these 
things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me'' 
(MATTHEW 4th, verses 8 and 9) ; and from this time called it Monte 
del Diablo. Of course, this is mere supposition, and is as likely 
to be wrong as it is to be right. 

The Pacific Ocean ; the city, and part of the bay of San Fran- 
cisco ; Fort Point ; the Golden Gate ; San Pablo and Suisun 
Bays; the government works at Mare Island ; Yallejo; Benicia; 
the valleys of Santa Clara, Petaluma, Sonoma, Kapa, Sacramento, 
and San Joaquin, with their rivers, creeks, and sloughs, in all 
their tortuous windings ; the cities of Stockton and Sacramento ; 
and the great line of the snow-covered Sierras ; with numerous 
villages dotting the pine forests on the lower mountain range are 
all spread out before you. In short, there is nothing to obstruct 
the sight in any direction ; and, with a good glass, the steamers 
and vessels at anchor in the bay, and made fast at the wharves of 
San Francisco, are distinctly visible. 

Stock may be seen grazing, in all directions, on the mountains. 
To the very summit, wild oats and chaparal alternately grow. In 
the canons are oak and pine trees from fifty to one hundred feet 
in height ; and, on the more exposed portions, there are low trees 
from twenty to thirty feet in height. 


In the fall season, when the wild oats and dead bushes are per 
fectly dry, the Indians sometimes set large portions of the surface 
of the mountains on fire ; and, when the breeze is fresh, and the 
night is dark, and the lurid flames leap, and curl, and sway, now 
to this side and now to that, the spectacle presented is magnificent 
beyond the power of language to express. 


The Sacramento boat, we see, is going straight forward, and 
will soon enter the Sacramento River, up which her course lies ; 
while ours is to the right, past "New York of the Pacific" (con- 
taining three dilapidated houses), touching at Antioch, the conve- 
nient depot of the Monte Diablo coal mines, just sufficiently long to 
discharge passengers and freight, we shoot up the San Joaquin. 

The evening being calm and sultry, it soon becomes evident 
that, if it is not the height of the musquito season, a very numer- 
ous band are out on a freebooting excursion ; and, although 
their harvest-home song of blood is doubtless very musical, it is 
matter of regret with us to confess that, in our opinion, but few 
persons on board appear to have any ear for it. In order, however, 
that their musical efforts may not be entirely lost sight of, they 
the muscjiiitos take pleasure in writing and impressing their low 
refrain, in red and embossed notes, upon the foreheads of the 
passengers, so that he who looks may read, "Musquitos !" when, 
alas! such is the ingratitude felt for favors so voluntarily per- 
formed, that flat-handed blows are dealt out to them in impetuous 
haste ; and blood, blood, blood, and flattened musquitos, are 
written, in red and dark brown spots, .upon the smiter ; and the 
notes of those singers are heard no more ! 

While the unequal warfare is going on, and one carcass of the 
slain induces at least a dozen of the living to come to his funeral 
and avenge his death, we are sailing on, on, up one of the most 
crooked and monotonous navigable rivers out of doors ; and, as 
we may as well do something more than fight the little, bill- 
presenting, and tax-collecting musquitos, if only for variety, we 
will relate to the reader how, in the early spring of 1849, just 



before leaving our southern home on the banks of "The Father of 
Waters," the old Mississippi, a gentleman arrived from northern 
Europe, and was at once introduced, a member of our little family 
circle. Ifow, however strange it may appear, our new friend had 
never in his life looked upon a live musquito, or a musquito-bar, 
and, consequently, knew nothing about the arrangements of a 
goodfemme de charge for passing a comfortable night, where such 
insects were even more numerous than oranges. In the morning, 
he seated himself at the breakfast-table, his face nearly covered 
with wounds received from the enemy's proboscis, when an in- 
quiry was made by the lady of the house if he had passed the 
night pleasantly. " Yes yes," he replied with some hesitation ; 
" yes toler-a-bly pleasant ; although a small fly annoyed 
me somewhat!" At this confession we could restrain ourselves 
no longer, but broke out into a hearty laugh, led by our good- 
natured hostess, who then exclaimed : " Musquitos ! why, I never 
dreamed that the marks on your face were musquito bites. I 
thought they might be from a rash, or something of that kind. 
Why, didn't you lower down your musquito-bars ?" But, as this 
latter appendage to a bed, on the low, alluvial lands of a southern 
river, was a greater stranger to him than any dead language 
known, the " small fly" problem had to be satisfactorily solved, 
and his sleep made sweet. 

Perhaps it may be well here to remark, that the San Joaquin 
River is divided into three branches, known, respectively, as the 
west, middle, and east channels the latter named being not only 
the main stream, but the one used by the steamboats and sailing- 
vessels bound to and from Stockton or, at least, to within four 
miles of that city, from which point the Stockton slough is used. 
The east, or main channel, is navigable for small, stern-wheel 
steamboats as high as Frezno City. Besides the three main chan- 
nels of the San Joaquin, before mentioned, there are numerous 
tributaries, the principal of which are the Moquelumne, Calaveras, 
Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced Rivers. 

An apparently interminable sea of tules extends nearly one 
hundred and fifty miles, south, up the valley of the San Joaquin ; 



and when these are on fire, as 'they not unfrequently are, during 
the fall and early winter months, the broad sheet of licking and 
leaping name, and the vast volumes of smoke that rise, and eddy, 
and surge, hither and thither, present a scene of fearful grandeur 
at night, that is suggestive of some earthly pandemonium. 


The lumbering sound- of the boat's machinery has suddenly 
ceased, and our high-pressure motive power, descended from a 
regular to an occasional snorting, gives us a reminder that we 
have reached Stockton. Time, half-past two o'clock A.M. 

At day-break we are again disturbed in our fitful slumbers, by 
the rumbling of wagons and hurrying bustle of laborers dis- 
charging cargo ; and before we have scarcely turned over for 
another uncertain nap, the stentorian lungs of some employee of 
the stage companies announce, that " stages for Sonora, Columbia, 
Moquelumne Hill, Sacramento, Mariposa, Coulterville, and Mur- 
phy's, are just about starting." 


The reader knows as well as we do, tliat it is of no use, what- 
ever, to be in too great a hurry when we are sight-seeing ; conse- 
quently, with his permission, we will allow the stages to depart 
without us this morning, and take a quiet walk about the city. 


This nourishing commercial city is situated in the valley of the 
San Joaquin, at the head of a deep navigable slough or arm of the 
San Joaquin River, about three miles from its junction with that 
stream. The luxuriant foliage of the trees and shrubs impress the 
stranger with the great fertility of the soil ; and the unusually 
large number of windmills with the manner of irrigation. So 
marked a feature as the latter has secured to this locality the cog- 
nomen of "the City of Windmills." 

The land upon which the city stands is part of a grant made by 
Governor Micheltorena, to Captain C. M. Weber and Mr. Gulnac, 
in 1844, who most probably were the first white settlers in the 
valley of the San Joaquin ; although some Canadian Frenchmen, 
in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company, spent several hunt- 
ing seasons here, commencing as early as 1834. 

In 1813, an exploring expedition, under Lieutenant Gabriel 
Morago, visited this valley, and gave it its present name the 
former, one being " Yalle de los Tulares," or Yalley of Rushes. 
At that time, it was occupied by a large and formidable tribe of 
Indians, called the Yachicumnes, who, in after times, were for the 
most part captured and sent to the Missions Dolores and San Jose, 
or decimated by the small-pox, and now are nearly extinct. Under 
the maddening influence of their losses by death from that fatal 
disease, they rose upon the whites, burned their buildings and 
killed their stock, and forced them to take shelter at the Mis- 

In 1846, Mr. "Weber, reinforced by a number of emigrants, re- 
newed his efforts to form a settlement ; but the war breaking out, 
compelled him to seek refuge in the larger settlements, until the 
Bear flag was hoisted, when Captain Weber, from his knowledge 
of the country, and the devotedness of those who had placed 


themselves under his command, was able to render invaluable aid 
to the American cause. 

When the war was concluded, in 1848, another and successful 
attempt was made to establish a prosperous settlement here, but 
upon the discovery of gold it \vas again nearly deserted. 

Several cargoes of goods having arrived from San Francisco, for 
land transportation to the southern mines, were suggestive of the 
importance of this spot for the foundation of a city, when cloth 
tents and houses sprung up as if by magic. On the 23d of De- 
cember, 1849, a fire broke out for the first time, and the " linen 
city," as it was then called, was swept away, causing a loss of 
about two hundred thousand dollars. Almost before the ruins had 
ceased smouldering, a new^er and cleaner "linen city," with a few 
wooden buildings, was erected in its place. In the following 
spring, a large proportion of the cloth houses gave place to wooden 
structures; and, being now in steam communication with San 
Francisco, the new city began to grow substantially in importance. 

On the 30th of March, 1850, the first weekly Stockton newspa- 
per was published by Radcliffe and White, conducted by Mr. 
John "White. 

On the same day, the first theatrical performance was given, in 
the Assembly Room of the Stockton House, by Messrs. Bingham 
and Fury. 

On the 13th of May following, the first election w r as held the 
population then numbering about two thousand four hundred. 

June 26th, a fire department was organized, and J. E. Nuttman 
elected chief engineer. 

On the 25th of the following month an order was received from 
the County Court, incorporating the city of Stockton, and author- 
izing the election of officers. On the 1st of August, 1850, an 
election for municipal officers was held, when seven hundred 
votes were polled, with the following result: Mayor, Samuel 
Purdy ; Eecorder, C. M. Teak ; City Attorney, Henry A. Crabb ; 
Treasurer, George D. Brush ; Assessor, C. Edmondson ; Marshal, 
T. S. Lubbock. 

On the 6th of May, 1851, a fire broke out that nearly destroyed 



tlie whole city, at a loss of one million five 
hundred thousand dollars. After this con- 
flagration, a large number of brick buildings 
were erected. 

In 1852, steps were taken to build a City 
Hall ; and about the same time, the south 
wing of what is now the State Asylum for 
the Insane, was erected as a General Hospi- 
tal; but which was abolished in 1853, and 
the Insane Asylum formed into a distinct 
institution by an act of the Legislature. In 
1854, the central building was added, and 
in 1855, the kitchen, bakery, dining-rooms, 
and bath-rooms were also added. 

On the 1st of February, 1856, another 
fire destroyed property to the amount of 
about sixty thousand dollars ; and on the 
30th of July following, by the same cause, 
about forty thousand dollars' worth of prop- 
erty was swept away. 

There are twelve places of worship in 
Stockton : two Presbyterian, two Baptist, 
an Episcopal, Congregational, Methodist 
Episcopal, Methodist Church South, Ger- 
man Methodist, Catholic, colored Metho- 
dist, and a Jewish synagogue. 

Of newspapers published here, there are 
the Stockton Independent, daily and weekly, 
N. M. Orr & Co., proprietors ; San Joaquin 
Republican, daily and weekly, H. C. Pat- 
rick & Co., proprietors ; and the Evening 
Herald, daily, Wm. Biven, proprietor. 

There are seven public schools here, with 
an aggregate attendance of 1,275 scholars, 
as follows: Washington, 350 ; Lafayette, 
325 ; Franklin, 225 ; North, 100 ; South, 80 ; 
Vineyard, 125; Pacific, 70: Total, 1,275. 


These are exclusive of several flourishing private schools, the 
success of which will prove how well they were conducted. 

Stockton can boast of having the deepest artesian well in the 
state, which is one thousand and two feet in depth, and which 
throws out two hundred and fifty gallons of water per minute, fif- 
teen thousand per hour, and three hundred and sixty thousand 
gallons every twenty-four hours, to the height of eleven feet above 
the plain, and nine feet above the city grade. In sinking this well, 
ninety-six different strata of loam, clay, mica, green sandstone, 
pebbles, etc., were passed through. Three hundred and forty feet 
from the surface, a redwood stump was found, imbedded in sand, 
from whence a stream of water issued to the top. The tempera- 
ture of the water is YT Fahrenheit the atmosphere being only 
60. The cost of this well was ten thousand dollars. 

One of the principal features connected with the commerce of 
this city, is the number of large freight wagons, laden for the 
mines; these have, not inappropriately, been denominated " prairie 
schooners," and " steamboats of the plains." One team, belonging 
to Mr. Warren, has taken one hundred thousand pounds to Mariposa 
in four frips, thus averaging twenty-five thousand per trip. An- 
other team, belonging to Mr. Huffman, hauled thirty-two thousand 
from Staple's Ranche to Stockton. Twenty-nine thousand six hun- 
dred and eighty pounds of freight, in addition to seven hundred 
pounds of feed, were hauled to Jenny Lind a mining town on the 
Moquelumne Hill road, twenty-seven miles from Stockton by 
twelve mules. The cost of these wagons is from nine hundred 
to eleven hundred and fifty dollars. In length, they are generally 
from twenty to twenty-three feet on the top, and from eighteen 
to nineteen feet on the bottom. Mules cost upon the average three 
hundred and fifty dollars each ; and some very large ones sell as 
high as one thousand four hundred dollars the span. One man 
drives and tends as many as fourteen animals, guiding and driving 
with a single line. These teams have nearly superseded the use 
of pack trains, inasmuch as formerly the number of animals in 
the packing trade exceeded one thousand five hundred, and now 
it is only about one hundred and sixty. It would be a source of 


considerable amusement to our eastern friends, could they see how 
easily these large mules are managed. They are drilled like soldiers, 
and are almost as tractable. When a teamster cracks his whip, it 
sounds like the sharp quick report of a revolver, and is nearly as loud. 

Several stages leave Stockton daily, at six o'clock, A.M. : For 
Chinese Camp, fare, $7 (connecting at Chinese with stages for Big 
Oak Flat, Garrote, Hardin's Mill, Tamarack Flat, and at the lat- 
ter place with saddle train to Hutchings', in Yo-Sem'ite, eleven 
miles distant. Also with Coulterville) ; Sonora and Columbia, 
fare, $8 ; for Copperopolis, fare, $6 ; Murphy's Camp, fare, $8 ; 
Calaveras Grove of Mammoth Trees, fare, $10. These fares, it 
should be remembered, are from Stockton through to the points 
named. On alternate days, at the same hour, for Mariposa, the 
Mariposa Mammoth Tree Grove, and Yo-Semite, fare to Mariposa, 
$10. A daily line is projected on this route. 

The Western Pacific railroad, directly connected with the 
" Central Pacific" and " Union Pacific," passes straight through 
Stockton. Visitors who wish to see the Yo-Semite valley, or 
either grove of big trees, before going to San Francisco, should 
here leave the train, as every mile in either direction, on that great 
thoroughfare, would be that much out of the way. 

Two new lines of railway are now being constructed : " The 
Stockton and Copperopolis," and " The Stockton and Tulare." 
The terminus of the former will be thirty-six miles, on the shortest, 
as well as on one of the most picturesque of routes, to both the 
Calaveras Grove and the Yo-Semite. The latter will pass a point 
some twelve miles west of " Snelling's," on the Merced River, and 
will convey passengers on the Mariposa route to within some 
ninety -five miles of Yo-Semite. Both these lines will afford 
pleasant and rapid transit over the dusty plains now the least 
comfortable of any portion of the trip. 


u All aboard for Copperopolis, Murphy's, and the Calaveras Big- 
Tree Grove," cries the coachman. " All set," shouts somebody 
in answer; when, "crack goes the whip, and away go we." 


There is a feeling of jovial, good-humored pleasureableness that 
steals insensibly over the secluded residents of cities when all the 
cares of a daily routine of duties are left behind, and the novelty 
of fresh scenes forms new sources of enjoyment. Especially is it so 
when seated comfortably in an easy old stage, with the prospect be- 
fore us of witnessing one of the most wonderful sights to be found 
in any far-off country, either of the old or new world. Besides, in 
addition to our being in the reputed position of a Frenchman with 
his dinner, who is said to enjoy it three times first, by anticipa- 
tion ; second, in participation ; and third, upon retrospection ; we 
have new views perpetually breaking upon our admiring sight. 

As soon as we have passed over the best gravelled streets of any 
town or city in the state, without exception, we thread our way 
past the beautiful suburban residences of the city of Stockton, and 
emerge from the shadows of the giant oaks that stand on either 
side the road. The deliciously cool breath of early morning, laden 
as it is in spring and early summer, with the fragrance of myriads of 
flowers and scented shrubs, we inhale with an acme of enjoyment 
that contrasts inexpressibly with the almost stifling and unsavory 
warmth of a liliputian state-room on board a high-pressure steamboat. 

The bracing air will soon restore the loss of appetite resulting 
from, and almost consequent upon, the excitement created by the 
novel circumstances and prospects attending us, so that when we 
arrive at the first public-house for a change of horses, and break- 
fast is announced, it is not by any means an unwelcome sound. 
The inner man being allowed about fifteen minutes to receive 
satisfaction, and a fresh relay of horses provided, we are soon upon 
our way again. At the " twenty-seven mile house," we again 
" change" horses. By this time the day and the travellers all be- 
come warm together; and as the cooling land-breeze dies out, 
the dust begins to pour in by every chink and aperture, so that 
the luxurious enjoyments of the early morning depart in the same 
way that lawyers are said to get to heaven by degrees. 

Leaving Copperopolis, we pass through the mining towns of 
Angel's Camp, Yallecito, and Douglas Flat, arriving at Sperry 
<fe Perry's hotel in Murphy's Camp about dark. Early the 
next morning let us start for the Mammoth-Tree Grove. 



Leaving the mining town of Murphy's Camp behind, we cross 
the " Flat," and about half a mile from town proceed, upon a 
good carriage road, up a narrow canon, now upon this side of the 
stream, and now on 'that,* as the hills proved favorable, or other- 
wise ; for the construction of the road. If our visit is supposed to 
be in spring or early summer, every mountain side, even to the 
tops of the ridges, is covered with flowers and flowering-shrubs of 
great variety and beauty ; while, on either hand, groves of oaks 
and pines stand as shade-giving guardians of personal comfort ,to 
the dust-covered traveller on a sunny day. 

As we continue our ascent for a few miles, the road becomes 
more undulating and gradual, and lying, for the most part, on the 
top, or gently sloping sides, of a dividing ridge; often through 
dense forests of tall, magnificent pines, that are from one hundred 
and seventy to two hundred and twenty feet in height, slender, 
and straight as an arrow. We measured one, that had fallen, that 
was twenty inches in diameter at the base, and fourteen and a half 
inches in diameter at the distance of one hundred and twenty-five 
feet from the base. The ridges being nearly clear of an under- 
growth of shrubbery, and the trunks of the trees, "for fifty feet 
upward, or more, entirely clear of branches, the eye of the 
traveller can wander, delightedly, for a long distance', among the 
captivating scenes of the forest. 

At different distances upon the route, the canal of the Union 
"Water Company winds its sinuous way on the top or around the 
sides of the ridge; or its sparkling contents rush impetuously 
down the water-furrowed centre of a ravine. Here and there an 
aqueduct, or cabin, or saw-mill, gives variety to an ever-changing 

When within about four and a half miles of the Mammoth-Tree 
Grove, the surrounding mountain peaks and ridges are boldly 
visible. Looking south-east, the uncovered head of Bald Moun- 
tain silently announces its solitude and distinctiveness ; west, the 
" Coast Mountain range" forms a continuous girdle to the horizon, 


extending to ~the north and east, where the snowy tops of the 
Sierras form a magnificent back-ground to the glorious picture. 

While we have been thus riding and admiring, and talking and 
wondering, and musing concerning the beautiful scenes we have 
witnessed, the deepening shadows of the densely-timbered forest 
we are entering, by the awe they inspire at first gently and im- 
perceptibly, then rapidly and almost to be felt prepare our minds 
to appreciate the imposing grandeur of the objects we are about 
to see, just as 

"Coming events cast their shadows before." 

The gracefully-curling smoke from the chimneys of the Big- 
Tree Cottage, that is now visible ; the inviting refreshment of the 
inner man ; the luxurious feeling arising from bathing the hands 
and temples in cold, clear water especially after a ride or walk 
are alike disregarded. One thought, one feeling, one emotion 
that of vastness, sublimity, profoundness, pervades the whole soul ; 
for there 

" The giant trees,' in silent majesty, 
Like pillars, stand 'neath Heaven's mighty dome, 
'Twould seem that, perch'd upon their topmost branch, 
With outstretch'd finger, man might touch the stars; 
Yet, could he gain that height, the boundless sk\ 
Were still as far beyond his utmost reach, 
As from the burrowing toilers in a mine. 
Their age unknown, into what depths of time 
Might Fancy wander sportively, and deem 
Some Monarch-Father of this grove set forth 
His tiny shoot, when the primeval flood 
Receded from the old and changed earth ; 
Perhaps, coeval with Assyrian kings, 
His branches in dominion spread ; from age 
To age, his sapling heirs with empires grew. 
When Time those patriarchs' leafy tresses strew'd 
Upon the earth, while Art and Science slept, 
And ruthless hordes drove back Improvement's stream 
Their sturdy oaklings throve, and, in their turn, 
Rose, when Columbus gave to Spain a world. 
How many races, savage or refined, 
Have dwelt beneath their shelter ! Who shall say 



(If hands irreverent molest them not) 
But they may shadow mighty cities, reared 
E'en at their roots, in centuries to come, 
Till, with the " Everlasting Hills" they bow, 
When "Time shall be no longer!"* 

Before wandering further amid the wild secluded depths of this 
forest, it will be well that the horse and his rider should partake 
of some good and substantial repast, such as he will here find 
provided, inasmuch as it is not always wisest, or best, to explore 
the wonderful, or look upon the beautiful, with an empty stomach, 
especially after a bracing and appetitive ride of fifteen miles. 
While thus engaged, let us explain some matters that we have 
reserved for this occasion. 

* Extract from Mrs. Conner's forthcoming play of "The Three Brothers; or, the 
Mammoth Grove of Calavera^ : a Legend of California." 



The Mammoth-Tree Grove, 
then, is situated in a gently slo- 
ping, and, as you have seen, 
heavily-timbered valley, on the 
divide or ridge between the San 
Antonio branch of the Calaveras . 
River and the north fork of the 
Stanislaus River ; inlat. 38 north, 
long. 120 10' west ; at an eleva- 
tion of 2,300 feet above Murphy's 
Camp, and 4,370 feet above the 
level of the sea; at a distance 
of ninety-seven miles from Sac- 
ramento City, and eighty-seven 
from Stockton. 

When specimens of this tree, 
with its cones and foliage, were 
sent to England for examination, 
Professor Lindley, an eminent 
English botanist, considered it 
as forming a new genus, and ac- 
cordingly named it (doubtless 
with the best intentions, but still 
unfairly) " "Wellingtonia gigan- 
tea ;" but through the examina- 
tions of Mr. Lobb, a gentleman 
of rare botanical attainments, 
who has spent several years in 
California, devoting himself to 
this interesting, and, to him, fa- 
vorite branch of study, it is de- 
cided to belong to the Taxodium 
family, and must be referred to 
the old genus Sequoia sempervi- 
rens ; and consequently, as it is 
not a new genus, and as it has 


been properly examined and classified, it is now known, only, 
among scientific men, as the Sequoia gigantea (sempervirens) and 
not "Wellingtonia," or, as some good and laudably patriotic souls 
would have it, to prevent the English from stealing American 
thunder, " Washing tonia gigantea." 

Within an area of fifty acres, there are one hundred and three 
trees of a goodly size, twenty of which exceed twenty-five feet in 
diameter at the base, and, consequently, are about seventy-five fe 
in circumference ! 


But the repast over let us first walk upon the " Big-Tree 
Stump" adjoining the cottage. You see it is perfectly smooth, 
sound, and level. Upon this stump, however incredible it may 
seem, on the 4th of July, thirty-two persons were engaged in 
dancing four sets of .cotillions at one time, without suffering any 
inconvenience whatever; and besides these, there were mu- 
sicians and lookers-on. Across the solid wood of this stump, 
five and a half feet from the ground (now the bark is removed, 
which was from fifteen to eighteen inches in thickness), measures 


twenty-five feet, and with the bark, twenty-eight feet. Think for 
a moment ; the stump of a tree exceeding nine yards in diameter, 
and sound to the very centre. 

This tree employed five men for twenty-two days in felling it 
not by chopping it down, but by boring it off with pump augers. 
After the stem was fairly severed from the stump, the uprightness 
of the tree, and breadth of its base, sustained it in its position. 
To accomplish the feat of throwing it over, about two and a half 
days of the twenty-two were spent in inserting wedges, and 
driving them in with the butts of trees, until, at last, the noble 
monarch of the forest was forced to tremble, and then to fall, after 
braving "the battle and the breeze" of nearly three thousand 
winters. In our estimation, it was a sacrilegious act ; although 
it is possible, that the exhibition of the bark, among the unbe- 
lievers of the eastern part of our continent, and of Europe, may 
have convinced all the " Thomases" living, that we have great 
facts in California, that must be believed, sooner or later. This 
is the only palliating consideration with us for this act of desecra- 


This noble tree was three hundred and two feet in height, and 
ninety-six feet in circumference at the ground. Upon the upper 
part of the prostate trunk is constructed a long double bowling 1 - 


alley, where the athletic sport of playing bowls may afford a 
pastime and change to the visitor. 

Now let us walk, among the giant shadows of the forest, to 
another of these wonders the largest tree now standing ; which, 
from its immense size, two breast-like protuberances on one side, 
and the number of small trees of the same class adjacent, has been 
named " The Mother of the Forest." In the summer of 1854, the 
bark was stripped from this tree by Mr. George Gale, for pur- 
poses of exhibition in the East, to the height of one hundred 
and sixteen feet; and it now measures in circumference, without 
the bark, at the base, eighty-four feet ; twenty feet from base, 
sixty-nine feet ; seventy feet from base, forty-three feet six inches ; 
one hundred and sixteen feet from base, and up to the bark, 
thirty-nine feet six inches. The full circumference at base, in- 
cluding bark, was ninety feet. Its height is three hundred and 
twenty-one feet. The average thickness of bark was eleven 
inches, although in places it was about two feet. This tree is 
estimated to contain five hundred and thirty-seven thousand feet 
of sound inch lumber. To the first branch it is one hundred 
and thirty-seven feet. The small black marks upon the tree 
indicate points where two and a half inch auger holes were bored, 
into which rounds were inserted, by which to ascend and descend, 
while removing the bark. At different distances upward, especi- 
ally at the top, numerous dates, and names of visitors, have been 
cut. It is contemplated to construct a circular stairway around 
this tree. When the bark was being removed, a young man fell 
from the scaffolding or, rather, out of a descending noose at a 
distance of seventy-nine feet from the ground, and escaped with a 
broken limb. We were within a few yards of him when he fell, 
and were agreeably surprised to discover that he had not broken 
his neck. 

A short distance from the above lies the prostrate and majestic 
body of the " Father of the Forest," the largest tree of the entire 
group, half-buried in the soil. This tree measures in circumfer- 
ence, at the roots, one hundred and ten feet. It is two hundred 
feet to the first branch ; the whole of which is hollow, and through 



which a person can walk erect. By the trees that were broken 
off when this tree bowed its proud head, in its fall, it is estimated 
that, when standing, it could not be less than four hundred and 
thirty-five feet in height. Three hundred feet from the roots, 
and where it was broken off by striking against another large 
tree, it is eighteen feet in diameter. Around this tree stand the 
graceful, yet giant trunks of numerous other trees, which form a 
family circle, and make this the most imposing scene in the whole 
grove. From its immense size, and the number of trees near, 
doubtless originated the name. Near its base is a never-failing 
spring .of cold and delicious water. 

Let us not linger here too long, but pass on to " The Husband 
and Wife" a graceful pair of trees that are leaning, with ap- 
parent affection, against each other. Both of these are of the 
same size, and measure in circumference, at the base, about sixty 
feet ; ,and in height are about two hundred and fifty-two feet. 

A short distance further is " The Burnt Tree ;" which is pros- 
trate, and hollow from numerous burnings in which a person can 
ride on horseback for sixty feet. The estimated height of this 
tree, when standing, was three hundred and thirty feet, and its 
circumference ninety-seven feet. It now measures across the 
roots thirty-nine feet six inches. 

" Hercules," another of these giants, is ninety-five feet in cir- 
cumference, and three hundred and twenty feet high. On the 
trunk of this tree is cut the name of "G.M. "Wooster, June, 1850 ;" 


so that it is possible this person may some day claim precedence to 
Mr. Dowd, in this great discovery.* At all events, it was through 
the latter that the world became acquainted with the grove. There 
are many other trees of this group that claim a passing notice; but, 
inasmuch as they very much resemble each other, we shall only 
mention them briefly. 


The " Hermit," a lonely old fellow, is 318 feet in height, and 
00 in circ-umfurence ; exceedingly straight and well formed. 

* Since writing the above, we have made the acquaintance of Mr. Wooster, who 
disclaims all title to the discovery, although of the same party; and gives it to W. 
"VHiitehead, Esq., who, while tying his shoe, looked casually around him, and saw the 
trees, June, 1850. 


The "Old Maid" a stooping, broken-topped, and forlorn- 
looking spinster of the big-tree family is two hundred and 
sixty-one feet in height, and fifty-nine feet in circumference. 

As a fit companion to the above, though at a respectful distance 
from it, stands the dejected-looking " Old Bachelor." This tree, 
as lonely and as solitary as the former, is one of the roughest, bark- 
rent specimens of the big trees to be found. In size it rather has 
the advantage of the " Old Maid," being about two hundred and 
ninety-eight feet in height, and sixty feet in circumference. 

Near to the " Old Bachelor" is the " Pioneer's Cabin," the top 
of which is broken off about one hundred and fifty feet from the 
ground. This tree measures thirty-three feet in diameter ; but, as 
it is hollow, and uneven in its circumference, its average size will 
not be quite equal to that. 

The " Siamese Twins," as their name indicates, with one large 
stem at the ground, form a double tree about forty-one feet 
upward. These are each three hundred feet in height. 

Near to them stands the " Guardian," a fine-looking old tree, 
three hundred and twenty feet in height, by eighty-one feet in cir- 

The " Mother and Son" form another beautiful sight, as side by 
side they stand. The former is three hundred and fifteen feet in 
height, and the latter three hundred and two feet. Unitedly. 
their circumference is ninety-three feet. 

The " Horseback Ride" is an old, broken, and long prostrate 
trunk, one hundred and fifty feet in length, hollow from one end 
to the other, and in which, to the distance of seventy -two feet, a 
person can ride on horseback. At the narrowest place inside, this 
tree is twelve feet high. 

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" is another fanciful name, given to a tree 
that is hollow, and in which twenty-five persons can be seated 
comfortably (not, as a friend at our elbow suggests, in each other's 
laps, perhaps !) This tree is three hundred and five feet in height, 
and ninety-one feet in circumference. 

The " Pride of the Forest" is one of the most beautiful trees of 
this wonderful grove. It is well-shaped, straight, and sound; 


and, although not quite as large as some of the others, it is, never- 
theless, a noble-looking member of the grove, two hundred and 
seventy-five feet in height, and sixty feet in circumference. 



The " Two Guardsmen" stand by the roadside, at the entrance 
of the " clearing," and near the cottage. They seem to be the 
sentinels of the valley. In height, these are three hundred feet ; 
and in circumference, one is sixty-five feet, and the other sixty- 
nine feet. 

Next though last in being mentioned, not least in gracefulness 
and beauty stand the " Three Sisters" by some called the 
" Three Graces" one of the most beautiful groups (if not the 
most beautiful) of the whole grove. Together, at their base, they 
measure in circumference ninety-two feet ; and in height they are 
nearly equal, and each measures nearly two hundred and ninety- 
five feet. 

Many of the largest of these trees have been deformed and 
otherwise injured, by the numerous and large fires that have 
swept with desolating fury over .this forest, at different periods. 
But a small portion of decayed timber, of the Taxodium genus, 
can be seen. Like other varieties of the same species, it is less 
subject to decay, even when fallen and dead, than other woods. 

Respecting the age of this grove, there has been but one opinion 
among the best informed botanists, which is this that each con- 
centric circle is the growth of one year ; and as nearly three thou- 
sand concentric circles can be counted in the stump of the fallen 
tree, it is correct to conclude that these trees are nearly three thou- 
sand years old. "This," says the Gardener's Calendar, "may 
very well be true, if it does not grow above two inches in diame- 
ter in twenty years, which we believe to be the fact." 

Could those magnificent and venerable forest giants of Calaveras 
county be gifted with a descriptive historical tongue, how their 
recital would startle us, as they told of the many wonderful 
changes that have taken place in California within the last three 
thousand years I* 

* Almost eight miles from here is the wonderful " South Grove," by far the largest 
and finest grove of Sequoias yet discovered in California. It contains 1,380 trees, 
many of them of the most magnificent proportions. We measured ten trees that were 
twenty-one feet larger in circumference than any others in either of the groves. 
Through the prostrate trunk of one tree, resembling an immense tube, we could have 
driven one of the heaviest Concord stages, crowded with passengers, a distance of 200 
feet. The trip can be made there and back in one day from the Calaveras Grove. 




" Nature faint emblem of Omnipotence ! 
Shaped by His hand the shadow of His light; 
The veil in which He wraps His majesty, 
And through whose mantling folds He deigns to show, 
Of His mysterious, awful attributes 
And dazzling splendors, ah" man's feeble thought 
Can grasp uncrushed, or vision bear unquenched." 



AFTER the visitor has lingered long among the scenes we have 
just described, he will feel that he 

" Could pass days 

Stretched in the shade of those old cedar trees, 
Watching the sunshine like a blessing fall 
The breeze like music wandering o'er the boughs, 
Each tree a natural harp each different leaf 
A different note, blent in one vast thanksgiving." 


Yet lie may entertain a desire to look upon other wonders 

" Are but parts of a stupendous whole," 

and pay a visit to the natural caves. These caves are situated on 
McKinney's Humbug, a tributary of the Calaveras River, about 
fourteen miles west of the mammoth trees, sixteen miles south, 
by the trail, from Moquelumne Hill, seven miles north, from 
Murphy's Camp, nine miles east of San Andreas, and near the 
mouth of O'Neil's Creek. 

They were discovered accidentally, in October, 1850, by Cap- 
tain Taylor, who, with others, was engaged in mining on this 
creek, and who, having finished their mid-day repast, were spend- 
ing the interval, before resuming their afternoon's work, in shoot- 
ing at a mark near the back of their cabin. Mr. Taylor, having 
just fired his rifle, proceeded to examine the mark, and having 
hit the centre, proposed that it should be placed at a greater 
distance than any at which they had ever before tried their skill ; 
and was looking out for a tree upon which to place it, when he 
saw a hole among the rocks. He immediately went to it, and, 
seeing that the aperture extended into the mountain for some 
distance, he called to his companions, and they conjointly com- 
menced to explore it. 

But let us not keep the reader waiting ; and as the following 
excellent description from the Pacific is so truthfully descriptive 
of this curiosity, we transcribe it for this work. 

" The entrance is round a jutting angle of a ledge of rocks 
which hides the small mining town adjacent from sight. 


" Only the house of the proprietor is to be seen. The country 
around is wild and romantic. Provided with adamantine candles, 
we entered through a small doorway, which had been blasted out 
to a sufficient size. Thence we crept along twenty-five or thirty 
feet, threading our way through an irregular and difficult passage, 
at first descending rapidly, but afterward level. Sometimes we 


were forced to stoop, and at others to bend the body in accordance 
with the seam of the rocks which constitute the passage. Sud- 
denly we emerged into a large vault or room, about sixty feet in 
length by twenty in breadth, with an irregular roof, running up 
in some places thirty feet. This room is called 


"The walls are dark, rough, and solid, rather than beautiful. 
Descending a little to the south-west, we again made our way 
through a long, low passage, which led to another room of half 
the size of the Council Chamber. Rising from the floor of this 
room, by another narrow passage, we soon came into a third large 
room, of irregular construction. The roof ascends, until lost to 
sight in perfect darkness ; here, as far up as the eye, assisted by 
the dim taper, can reach, the lime depositions present a perfect 
resemblance to a vast cataract of waters rushing from an incon- 
ceivable height, in a perfect sheet of foam, leaping from one great 
shelf of jutting rock down to others, onward, widening as they 
near, in exact perspective. This room is called 


" And well does it deserve the name. Next we descended a 
short distance, by another passage, and entered a small, round 
room, in the centre of the roof of which runs up a lofty opening, 
sixty feet high, of singular appearance. This apartment is called 


" Turning back by the Cataract, we passed an easy way by a 
deep w T ell of water upon the left, and very singular small pools or 
reservoirs on the right. Leaving these, we soon entered a spa- 
cious room, full one hundred feet square, and of fair proportionate 
height. Through another low opening, we entered yet another 
great room, near the centre of which stands a large, dark struc- 
ture, the perfect likeness of a full-robed Roman Bishop, minus the 
head ; whence the name for the room, the 



"Descending through another small opening, we entered a 
room beautifully ornamented with pendents from the roof, white 
as the whitest feldspar, and of every possible form. Some like 
garments hung in a wardrobe, every fold and seam complete ; 
others like curtains, with portions of columns, half-way to the 
floor, fluted and scolloped for unknown purposes ; while innumer- 
able spear-shaped stalactites, of different sizes and lengths, hung 
from all parts; giving a beauty and splendor to the whole ap- 
pearance surpassing description. Once, as the light was borne 
up along a glorious fairy stairway, and back behind solid pillars 
of clear deposits, and the reflected rays glanced through the 
myriads of varying forms, the whole pillars, curtains, pendents, 
and carved work, white as snow, and translucent as crystal glis- 
tened and shone, and sparkled with a glory that surpassed in 
splendor all that we had seen in art, or read in fable. This is 




" Immediately at the back of this, and connected with it by dif- 
ferent openings, is another room, now called 


" It is so called from the fact, that, on one side, suspended from 
a singular rock, that has the character of a musical sounding- 
board, hang a large number of stalactites, arranged in a line very 
large at one end, and gradually increasing in size toward the 
other, so that, if with a rod you strike the pendents properly, all 
the musical tones, from a common bass to a very high key, can 
be produced in perfection, ringing loud and clear through the 
halls, as a well-toned instrument. 

"Here the present exploration of the cave terminates, at the 
distance of about one-sixth of a mile from the entrance." 


In 1853 it was taken up, under a pre-emption right, by Messrs. 
Magee and Angel, who erected a large and substantial hotel ad- 
joining the cave, for the convenience of the public, at a cost of 
about four thousand five hundred dollars. This hotel is com- 
modious and comfortable, and we shall long remember the enjoy- 
ment of our visit, and the personal attention we received from the 
agreeable and enterprising proprietors. 






" Here the great Architect 
Did, with curious skill, a pile erect 
Of carved marble." 


THESE bridges are situated on Cayote Creek, about half way be- 
tween Yalicita and McLane's Ferry, on the Stanislaus River, and 
hold a high rank among the varied natural objects of interest and 


beauty abounding in California. The entire water of Cayote 
Creek runs beneath these bridges. The bold, rocky, and precip- 
itous banks of the stream, both above and below the bridges, pre- 
sent a counterpart of wild scenery, in perfect keeping with 
the strange beauty and picturesque grandeur of their interior 


Approaching the upper bridge from the east, along the stream, 
the entrance beneath presents the appearance of a noble Gothic 
arch of massive stone-work, thirty-two feet in height above the 
water, and twenty-five feet in width at the abutments ; while the 
rock and earth above, supported by the arch, are thirty or more 
feet in thickness, and overgrown to some extent with trees and 

Passing under the arch, along the border of the creek, the walls, 
extend upward to an almost perfectly formed and pointed arch, 
and maintaining their width and elevation ; but with here and 
there an irregularity, serving, however, to heighten the interest 
of the beautiful scene presented. Along the roof, or arch, hang 
innumerable stalactites, like opaque icicles, but solid as the lime- 
stone, or marble, of which they are formed. 

As we advance, the width of the arch increases to nearly forty 
feet, and in its height to fifty feet ; and here it really seems as 
though nature, in her playful moments, determined for once, in 
her own rude way, to mock the more elaborately-worked objects 
of art. Yet, as more in accordance with reality, we think that 
from such fine natural formation, the noble Gothic order of archi- 
tecture was first suggested. 

Here the spacious roof (with a little aid from the imagina- 
tion) is made to resemble an immense cathedral, w T ith its vaulted 
arches supported by innumerable columns along the sides, with 
here and there a jutting portion, as though an attempt had been 
made to rough-hew an altar, and corridor with massive steps 
thereto ; while stalactites, springing from the bottom and sides, 
w r ould appear like waxen candles, ready to be lighted, but for the 
muddy sediment which has formed upon them. 



Nor is this all, for near the foot of the altar is a natural basin 
of pure water, clear as crystal, as though purposely for a baptismal 

Numerous other formations, some of them peculiarly grotesque, 
and others beautiful, adorn the sides aiid roof of this truly mag- 
nificent subterranean temple ; one of these, the " rock cascade," is 
a beautiful feature, as it bears a striking resemblance to that which 
would result from the instantaneous freezing, to perfect solidity, 
of a stream of water rolling down the rocky sides of the cavernous 
formation. Others resemble urns and basins; all formed from 
the action of, and ever filled to their brims with, clear cold water, 
as it trickles from the rocks above. 


Approaching the lower section of this immense arch, its form 
becomes materially changed, increasing in width, while the roof, 
becoming more flattened, is brought down to within five feet of 



the water of the creek. The entire distance through or under this 
vast natural bridge is about ninety-five yards. 



Nearly half a mile down the creek from the bridge described, 
is another, with its arched entrance differing but little from the 
one already described, in size, but the form of the arch is quite 
different, being more flattened and broader at the top. Advanc- 
ing beneath its wide-spreading arch, and passing another beauti- 
ful fount of water, issuing from a low, broad basin, wrought by 
nature's own hand, we arrive at a point where a roof and sup- 
porting walls present the appearance of a magnificent rotunda, 
or arched dome, sixty feet in width, but with a height of only 
fifteen feet. 


Here, too, are mimberless stalactites, hanging like opaque 
icicles from above, while the rocky floor, where the creek does 
not receive the trickling water from above, is studded thick with 


stalagmites of curious and beautiful forms. The length of this 
arch is about seventy yards. 

These natural bridges give to the locality an interest exceeded 
by few in the State ; they form the most remarkable natural tun- 
nels known in the world, serving as they do for the passage of a 
considerable stream through them. 

The entire rock formation of the vicinity is limestone, and vari- 
ous are the conjectures relative to the first formation of these 
natural bridges or tunnels. Some believing them to have been 
formed by the rocky deposit contained in, and precipitated by, 
the water of countless springs, issuing from the banks of the 
creek, that, gradually accumulating and projecting, at length 
united the two sides, forming these great arched passages. 
Others believe that, as these bridges are covered many feet in 
depth with rock and earth, these natural tunnels were but so 
many subterranean passages or caverns, formed, we will not at- 
tempt to say how, but as other caverns are, or have been, in nearly 
all limestone formations ; for were these subterranean passages to 
exist in the adjoining hills or mountains, with either one or two 
arches of entrance, they would be called caverns. But, by what- 
ever freak of nature formed, they are objects of peculiar interest, 
and will well repay the summer rambler, among the mines and 
mountains, the trouble of visiting them. Our wonder is that so 
few, comparatively, have visited these singular specimens of 
nature's architecture. 





From a. Photograph by C. Z. Weed. 



" Where rose the mountains, there to him were friends ; 

"Where rolled the ocean, thereon was his home; 
"Where a blue sky and glowing clime extends, 
He had the passion and the power to roam; 
The desert, forest, cavern, breakers' foam, 

"Were unto him companionship." 

GUlde Harold. 

" If thou art worn and hard beset 
"With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget: 
If thou wouldst read a lesson that will keep 
Thy heart from fainting, and thy soul from sleep 

Go to the woods and hills." 


THE reader knows as well as we do, that, although it may be 
of Init little consequence in point of fact, whether a spirit of ro- 
mance, the love of the grand and beautiful in scenery, the sugges- 
tions or promptings of a fascinating woman be she friend, sweet- 
heart, or wife the desire for change, the want of recreation, or 
the necessity of a restoration and recuperation of an overtasked 
physical or mental organization, or both whatever may be the 
agent that first gives birth to the wish for, or the love of travel ; 
when the mind is thoroughly made up, and the committee of ways 
and means reports itself financially prepared to undertake the 
pleasurable task in order to enjoy it with luxurious zest, we 
must resolve upon four things : first, to leave the " peck of troub- 
les," and a few thrown in, entirely behind ; second, to Lave none 
but good, suitable, and genial-hearted companions ; third, a suffi- 
cient supply of personal patience, good humor, forbearance, and 
creature comforts for all emergencies; and,/0wA, not to be in a 
hurry. To these, both one and all, who have ever visited the Yo- 
Semite Valley, we know will say Amen. 

As there are but few countries that possess more of the beauti- 
ful and wildly picturesque than California, it seems to us a sin to 
neglect to cultivate the knowledge and inspiration of it. Especi- 


ally as her towering and pine-covered mountains ; her wide-spread 
valleys, carpeted with flowers ; her leaping waterfalls ; her foam- 
ing cataracts ; her rushing rivers ; her placid lakes ; her ever 
green and densely timbered forests ; her gently rolling hills, cov- 
ered with blooming shrubs and trees, and wild flowers, give a 
voiceless invitation to the traveller to look upon her and admire. 

Whether one sits with religious veneration at the foot of Mount 
Shasta, or cools himself in the refreshing shade of the natural 
caves and bridges, or walks beneath the giant shadows of the 
mammoth trees, or stands in awe looking upon the frowning and 
pine-covered heights of the Yo-Semite Yalley, he feels that 

" A thing of beauty is a joy forever," 

and that the Californian's home will compare, in picturesque mag- 
nificence, with that of any other land. 

In later years, other employments and enjoyments have been 
entertained as worthy the attention of the residents and visitors of 
this coast, than money-making. Now, there are many who throng 
the highway of elevating and refining pleasure, in spring and 
summer, to feast the eye and mind upon the beautiful. In the 
hope, though humbly, of fostering this feeling, we continue our 
sketches of the most remarkable and interesting, among which 
doubtless stands the great Yo-Semite Valley. 


The early California resident will remember, that during the 
spring and summer of 1850, much dissatisfaction existed among 
the white settlers and miners on the Merced, San Joaquin, Chow- 
chilla, and Frezno Rivers and their tributaries, on account of the 
frequent robberies committed upon them by the Chook-chan-cie, 
Po-to-en-cie, Noot-cho, Po-ho-ne-chee, Ho-na-chee, Ghow-chilla, 
and other Indian tribes on the head waters of those streams. The 
frequent repetition of their predatory forays having been attended 
with complete success, without any attempted punishment on the 
part of the whites, the Indians began seriously to contemplate the 


practicability of driving out every white intruder upon their hunt- 
ing and fishing grounds. 

At this time, James D. Savage had two stores, or trading-posts, 
nearly in the centre of the affected tribes ; the one on Little Mari- 
posa Creek, about twenty miles south of the town of Mariposa, and 
near the old stone fort ; and the other on Frezno River, about two 
miles above where John Hunt's store now is. Around these stores 
those Indians who were most friendly, used to congregate ; from 
them and his two Indian wives, Eekino and Homut, Savage ascer- 
tained the state of thought and feeling among them. 

In order to avert such a calamity, and without even hinting at 
his motive, he invited an Indian chief, who possessed much influ- 
ence with the Chow-chillas and Chook-chan-cies, named Jose 
Jerez, to accompany him and his two squaws to San Francisco ; 
hoping thereby to impress him with the wonders, numbers, and 
power of the whites, and through him the various tribes who 
were malcontent. To this Jerez gladly assented, and they arrived 
in San Francisco in time to witness the first celebration of the 
admission of California into the Union, on the 29th of October, 
1850,* and they put up at the Revere House, then standing on 
Montgomery street. 

During their stay in San Francisco, and while Savage was pur- 
chasing goods for his stores in the mountains, Jose Jerez, the 
Indian chief, became intoxicated, and returned to the hotel about 
the same time as Savage, in a state of boisterous and quarrelsome 
excitement. In order to prevent his making a disturbance, Savage 
shut him up in his room, and there endeavored to soothe him, and 
restrain his violence by kindly words ; but this he resented, and 
became not only troublesome, but very insulting ; when, after pa- 
tiently bearing it as long as he possibly could, at a time of great 
provocation, unhappily he was tempted to strike Jerez, and followed 
it up with a severe scolding. This very much exasperated the 

* The news of the admission, by Congress, of California into the Union, on the 9th of 
September, 1850, was brought by the mail steamer " Oregon," which arrived in the Bay 
of San Francisco on the ] 8th of October, 1850, when preparations were immediately 
commenced for a general jubilee throughout the State on the 29th of that month. 


Indian, and lie indulged in numerous muttered threats of what 
he would do when he went back among his own people. But, 
when sober, he concealed his angry resentment, and, Indian-like, 
sullenly awaited his opportunity for revenge. Simple, and appar- 
ently small as was this circumstance, like many others equally in- 
significant, it led to very unfortunate results ; for no sooner had 
he returned to his own people, than he summoned a council of the 
chief men of all the surrounding tribes ; and from his influence 
and representations mainly, steps were then and there taken to 
drive out or kill all the whites, and appropriate all the horses, 
mules, oxen, and provisions they could find.* 

Accordingly, early one morning in the ensuing month of Novem- 
ber, the Indians entered Savage's store on the Frezno, in their 
usual manner, as though on a trading expedition, when an imme- 
diate and apparently preconcerted plan of attack was made with 
hatchets, crow-bars, and arrows ; first upon Mr. Greeley, who had 
charge of the store, and then upon three other white men named 
Canada, Stiffner, and Brown, who were present. This was made 
so unexpectedly as to exclude time or opportunity for defence, and 
all were killed except Brown, whose life was saved by an Indian 
named " Polonio" (thus christened by the whites), jumping be- 
tween him and the attacking party, at the risk of his own personal 
safety, thus affording Brown a chance of escape, which he made 
the best of, by running all the way to Quartzburg, at the height 
of his speed. 

Simultaneously with this attack on the Frezno, Savage's other 
store and residence on the Mariposa was attacked, during his 
absence, by another band, and his Indian wivgs^ carried off. 
Similar onslaughts having been made at different points on the 
Merced, San Joaquin, Frezno, and Chow-chilla rivers, Savage 
concluded that a general Indian war was about opening, and im- 
mediately commenced raising a volunteer battalion. At the same 
time a requisition for men, arms, ammunition, and general stores, 

* These facts were communicated to us by Mr. J. M. Cunningham (now in the Yo- 
Semite valley), who was then engaged as clerk for Savage, and was present during the 
altercation between him and the Indian. 



was made upon the Governor of the State (General John McDou- 
gal), which was promptly responded to by him, and hostilities 
were at once begun. 

Doctor L. H. Bunnell, an eye-witness, belonging to the Mariposa 
battalion, has kindly favored us with the following interesting 
account of this campaign : 

" Preparations were being made for defence, when the news came 
of the sack of Savage's place on the Frezno, and of two men 
killed, and one wounded ; and close on this report came another, of 
the murder of four men at Doctor Thomas Payne's place, at the 
Four Creeks ; one of the bodies being found skinned. The bearer 
of the news was one who had escaped the murderous assault of 
the Indians by the fleetness of his horse, but with the loss of an 
arm, which was amputated, soon after this event, by Doctor 
Leach, of the Frezno. 

"These occurrences so exasperated the people, that a company 
was at once raised and despatched to chastise the Indians. They 
found and attacked a large rancheria, high up on the Frezno. 
During the fight, Lieutenant Stein was killed, and William Little 
severely w^ounded. It is not known how many Indians were 
killed, but the whites assert that in that battle they did nothing to 
immortalize themselves as Indian fighters. Most of the party 
were very much dissatisfied with the result of the fight ; and 
while some left for the settlements, others continued in search of 
the Indians. 

" In a few days it was ascertained that some four or five hundred 
Indians had assembled on a round mountain, lying between the 
north branches of the San Joaquin, and that they invited attack. 
They were discovered late in the afternoon ; but Captain Boling 
and Lieutenant Chandler were disposed to have a ' brush' with 
them that evening, if for no other reason than to study their posi- 
tion. Their object was gained, and the captain, with his company, 
was followed by the Indians on his return from reconnoitring, 
and annoyed during the night. 

" In the morning volunteers were called for, to attack the ranch- 
eria. Thirty-six offered, and at daylight the storming commenced 


with such fury as is seldom witnessed in Indian warfare. The 
rancheria was fired in several places at the same time, in accord- 
ance with a previous understanding, and as the Indians sallied 
from their burning wigwams, they were shot down, killed, or 
wounded. A panic seized many of them, and notwithstanding 
the fear in which their chief, 4 Jose,' was held, at such a time 
his authority was powerless to compel his men to stand before the 
flames, and the exasperated fury of the whites. Jose was mor- 
tally wounded, and twenty-three of his men were killed upon the 
ground. Only one of Captain Boling's party (a negro who fought 
valiantly) was touched, and he but slightly. It is not my pur- 
pose to eulogize any one, but it is right to say, that that battle 
checked the Indians in their career of murder and robbery, and 
did more to save the blood of the whites, as well as of Indians, 
than any or all other circumstances combined. 

u ln a subsequent expedition into that region after the organiza- 
tion of the battalion, which was in January, 1851, the remains of 
Jose were found still burning among the coals of the funeral pyre. 
The Indians fled at the approach of the volunteers, not even firing 
a gun or winging an arrow, in defence of their once loved, but 
dreaded chief. 

" It will not, I think, be out of place in this connection, to repeat 
a speech delivered by Captain Boling on the eve of the expected 
battle. The captain's object was to exhort the men to do their 
duty. He commenced : ' Gentlemen hem fellow citizens 
hem soldiers hem fellow volunteers hem' (tremblingly) 
and after a long pause, he broke out into a laugh, and said : 
' Boys, I will only say in conclusion, that I hope I will fight better 
than I speak.' 

"It was during the occurrence of the events that have been men- 
tioned above, that the existence of an Indian stronghold was 
brought to light. When the Indians were told that they would 
all be killed, if they did not make peace, they would laugh in de- 
rision, and say that they had many places to flee to, where the 
whites could not follow them ; and one place they had, which, if 
the whites were to enter, they would be corralled like mules or 


horses. After a series of perplexing delays, Major Savage, Cap- 
tain Boling, and Captain Dill, with two companies of the battal- 
ion, started in search of the Indians and their Gibraltar. On the 
south fork of the Merced, a rancheria was taken without firing a 
gun ; the orders from the Commissioners being in ' no case to shed 
blood unnecessarily ;' and to the credit of our race, it was strictly 
obeyed throughout the campaign, except in one individual in- 

" As soon as the prisoners had arrived at the rendezvous designa- 
ted, near what is now called Bishop's Camp, Pou-watch-ie and 
Co w-chit-ty (brothers), chiefs of the tribes we had taken, despatched 
runners to the chief of the tribe living in the then unknown val- 
ley, with orders from Major Savage for him to bring in his tribe 
to head-quarters, or to the rendezvous. 

"Next morning the chief spoken of, Ten-ie-ya, came in alone, 
and stated that his people would be in during the following day, 
and that they now desired peace. The time passed for their arri- 
val. After waiting another day, and no certainty of their coming 
manifested, early on the following morning volunteers were 
called for to storm their stronghold. 

" The place where the Indians were supposed to be living, was 
depicted in no very favorable terms ; but so anxious had the men 
become, that more offered than were desired by Captain Boling 
for the expedition. To decide who should go, the captain paced 
off one hundred yards, and told the volunteers that he wanted 
men fleet of foot, and with powers of endurance, and their fitness 
could be demonstrated by a race. By this means he selected, 
without offence, the men he desired. Some, in their anxiety to go, 
ran bare-footed in the snow. 

"All being ready, Ten-ie-ya took the lead as guide, very much 
against his inclination ; and we commenced our march to the then 
unknown and unnamed valley. Savage said he had been there, 
but not by the route that we were taking. About half way to the 
valley, which proved about fifteen miles from the rendezvous, on 
the south fork, seventy-two Indians, women, and children, were 
met coming in as promised by Ten-ie-ya. 


"They gave as an excuse for their delay the great depth of the 
snow, which in places was over eight feet deep. Ten-ie-ya tried 
to convince Major Savage that there were no more Indians in the 
valley, but the whole command cried out as with one voice, * Let's 
go on.' The major was willing to indulge the men in their desire 
to learn the truth of the exaggerated reports the Indians had 
given of the country, and we moved on. Ten-ie-ya was allowed 
to return with his people to the rendezvous, sending in his stead a 
young Indian as guide. 

"Upon the arrival of the party in the valley, .the young Indian 
manifested a great deal of uneasiness ; he said it would be impos- 
sible to cross the river that night, and was not certain that it could 
be crossed in the morning. It was evident that he had some 
object in view ; but the volunteers were obliged to content them- 
selves for the night, resolved to be up and looking out for them- 
selves early in the morning, for a crossing, or way over the rocks 
and through the jungle into which they had been led. Daylight 
appeared, and with it was found a ford. And such a ford ! It 
furnished in copious abundance, water for more than one plunge 
bath, and that, too, to some who were no admirers of hydropathy ; 
or, judging from their appearance, had never realized any of its 

" In passing up the valley on the north side, it was soon very evi- 
dent that some of the wigwams had been occupied the night 
before ; and hence the anxiety of the young Indian, lest the occu- 
pants should be surprised. The valley was scoured in all direc- 
tions, but not an Indian could be found. At length, hid among 
the rocks, the writer discovered an old woman ; so old, that when 
Ten-ie-ya was interrogated in regard to her age, he with a smile, 
said, that 'when she was a child, the mountains were hills.' The 
old creature was provided with fire and food, and allowed to 

" It having snowed during the night, and continuing to snow in 
the morning, the major ordered the return of the command, lest 
it should be hemmed in by snow. This was in March, 1851. 
Ten-ie-ya and others of his tribe asserted most positively that we 


were the first white men ever in the valley. The writer asked 
Major Savage, ' Have you not been in the valley before ?' he an- 
swered, ' No, never ; I have been mistaken ; it was in a valley 
below this (since known as Cascade Yalley), two and a half miles 
below the Yo-Semite.' 

" On our return to the rendezvous where the prisoners had been 
assembled, we started for the Commissioners' camp on the Frezno. 
On our way in, about a hundred more Indians gave themselves 
up to Captain Dill's company. When within about fifteen miles 
of the Commissioners' camp, nine men only being left in charge, 
owing to an absolute want of provisions, the Indians fled fright- 
ened, as it afterward appeared, by the stories told them by the 
Chow-chillas. Only one of their number was left ; he had eaten 
venison with such a relish at the camp-fire of the whites as to un- 
fit him for active duties ; and on his awaking and finding himself 
alone among the whites, he thought his doom sealed. He was 
told that he had nothing to fear, and soon became reconciled. 

" Upon the arrival, at the Commissioners' camp, of Captain Bol- 
ing and his nine men, Von-ches ter (!), a chief, was despatched to 
find and bring in the frightened Indians. In a few days lie suc- 
ceeded in bringing in about a hundred ; but Ten-ie-ya with his 
people said he would not return. 

"After a trip to the San Joaquin, which before has been alluded 
to, it was resolved to make another trip to the Yo-Semite Yalley, 
there establish head-quarters, and remain until we had thoroughly 
learned the country, and taken, or driven out, every Indian in it. 
On our arrival in the valley, a short distance above the prominent 
bluff known as El Capitan, or as the Indians call it, Tu-toch-ah- 
nu-lah, which signifies in their language, The Captain, five Indians 
were seen and heard on the opposite side of the river, taunting 
us. They evidently thought, we could not cross, as the river was 
so very high (this was in the early part of May), but they were 
mistaken, as six of us plunged our animals in the stream, swam 
across, and drove the Indians in among the rocks which obstruct 
the passage of animals on the north side of the valley ; Captain 
Boling in the mean time crossing above the rocks, succeeded in 




From a Photograph ~by C. L. Weed. 

taking them all prisoners. Three of these were kept as hostages, 
while two were sent to Ten-ie-ya with an order for his immediate 
presence. Of the three kept as hostages, two were sons of Ten-ie- 
ya, while the two sent with a message, were a son and son-in- 

" The writer was despatched by Captain Boling to guard them 
against the fire of any scouting party they might encounter in the 
valley, and succeeded in saving them from an exasperated individual 
who was met returning with C. H. Spencer, Esq. (now of Chicago), 



who had been wounded while tracing out the hiding-places of the 
Indians. When the two sent for Ten-ie-ya left, they said he would 
be in by ten o'clock the next morning, and that he would not have 
ran away but for the stories told by the Chow-chillas. On the 
morning of the day Ten-ie-ya was expected, one of the three In- 
dians escaped, having deceived the guard. 

" Soon after, the two remaining were discovered untying them- 
selves. Two men, instead of informing Captain Boling, that he 
might make more secure their fastenings, placed themselves near 
their arms to watch their movements, in order, if possible, to dis- 
tinguish themselves. One was gratified ; for as soon as the Indians 
bounded to their feet, freed from their fetters, they started to run ; 
Ten-ie-ya's youngest son was shot dead the other escaped. 

" While this was occurring, a party was reconnoitring the scene 
of Spencer's disaster, and while there, discovered Ten-ie-ya perched 
upon a rock overlooking the valley. He was engaged in conver- 
sation, while a party cut off his retreat and secured him as a pris- 
oner. Upon his entrance into the camp of the volunteers, the 
first object that met his gaze was the dead body of his son. Not 
a word did he speak, but the workings of his soul were frightfully 
manifested in the deep and silent gloom that overspread his coun- 
tenance. For a time he was left to himself; but after a while 
Captain Boling explained to him the occurrence, and expressed 
his regrets that it should have so happened, and ordered a change 
of camp, to enable the friends of the dead boy to go unmolested 
and remove the body. 

" After remaining inactive a day or two, hoping that the Indians 
might come in, a ' scout' was made in the direction of the Tuo- 
lumne. Only one Indian was seen, and he evidently had been de- 
tailed to watch our movements. Yarious scouts' being made to 
little purpose, it was concluded to go as far up the river as possi- 
ble, or as far as the Indians could be traced. 

" The command felt more confidence in this expedition, from the 
fact that Co w-chit-ty had arrived with a few of the tribe mentioned 
before as having been taken on the south fork of the Merced. 
They knew the country well, and although their language differed 


a little from that of the Yo-Semite tribe, yet, by means of a mis- 
sion Indian, who spoke Spanish and the various Indian tongues 
of this region, Ten-ie-ya was told if he called in his people they 
were confident that we would not hurt them. Apparently he was 
satisfied, and promised to bring them in, and at night, when they 
were supposed to hover around our camp, he would call upon them 
to come in ; but no Indians came. 

""While waiting here for provisions, the chief became tired of his 
food, said it was the season for grass and clover, and that it was 
tantalizing for him to be in sight of such abundance, and not be 
permitted to taste it. It was interpreted to Captain Boling, when 
he good humoredly said that he should have a ton if he desired it. 
Mr. Cameron (now of Los Angeles) attached a rope to the old 
man's body, and led him out to graze ! A wonderful improve- 
ment took place in his condition, and in a few days he looked like 
a new man. 

" With returning health and strength came the desire for liberty, 
and it was manifested one evening, when Mr. Cameron was off his 
guard, by his endeavor to escape. Mr. Cameron, however, caught 
him at the water's edge, as he was about to swim the river. Then, 
in the fury inspired by his failure to escape, he cried : ' Kill me 
if you like ; but if you do, my voice shall be heard at night, call- 
ing upon my people to revenge me, in louder tones than you have 
ever made it ring.' (It was the custom of Captain Boling to ask 
him to call for his people.) 

" Soon after this occurrence, it being manifest to all that the old 
man had no intention of calling in his people, and the provisions 
arriving, we commenced our march to the head waters of the Py- 
we-ah, or branch of the Merced, in the valley on which is situated 
Mirror Lake, and fifteen miles above the valley lake Ten-ie-ya. 
At a rancheria on the shore of this lake, we found thirty-five 
Indians, whom we took prisoners. With this expedition Captain 
Boling took Ten-ie-ya, hoping to make him useful as a guide ; but 
if Cow-chit-ty, who discovered the rancheria, had not been with 
us, we probably would have gone back without seeing an Indian. 
In taking this rancheria no Indians were killed, but it was a death- 


blow to their hopes of holding out longer against the whites, for 
when asked if they were willing to go in and live peaceably, the 
chief at the rancheria (Ten-ie-ya was not allowed to speak) stretch- 
ing his hand out and over the country, exclaimed : ' Not only 
willing, but anxious, for where can we go that the Americans do 
not follow us ?' 

" It was evident that they had not much expected us to follow 
them to so retired a place ; and surrounded as they were by snow, 
it was impossible for them to flee, and take with them their 
women and children. 

" One of the children, a boy five or six years old, was discovered 
naked, climbing up a smooth granite slope that rises from the lake 
on the north side. At first he was thought to be a coon or a 
fisher, for it was not thought possible for any human being to 
climb up such a slope. The mystery was soon solved by an Indian 
who went out to him, coaxed him down from his perilous position, 
and brought him into camp. He was a bright boy, and Captain 
Boling adopted him, calling him Reub, after Lieutenant Reuben 
Chandler, who was, and is, a great favorite with the volunteers. 
He was sent to school at Stockton, 1 and made rapid progress. To 
give him advantages that he could not obtain in Mariposa county 
at that time, he was placed in charge of Colonel Lane, Captain 
Boling' s brother-in-law. To illustrate the folly, as a general thing, 
of attempting to civilize his race, he ran away, taking with him 
two very valuable horses belonging to his patron. 

" We encamped on the shores of the lake one night. Sleep was 
prevented by the excessive cold, so in the gray of morning we 
started with our prisoners on our return to the valley. This was 
about the 5th of June ; we had taken at the lake four of old Ten- 
ie-ya's wives and all of his family, except those who had fled to 
the Mono country, through the pass which we saw while 011 this 
expedition ; and, being satisfied that all had been done that could 
be, and not a fresh Indian sign to be seen in the country, we were 
ordered to the Frezno. The battalion was soon after disbanded, 
and nothing more was heard of the turbulent Ten-ie-ya and his 
band of pillager Indians (who had been allowed once more to go 


back to the valley upon the promise of good behavior), until the 
report came of their attack upon a party of whites who visited 
the valley in 1852, from Coarse-Gold Gulch, Frezno county. 
Two men of the party, Rose and Shurbon, were killed, and a 
man named Tudor wounded. 

" In June, Lieutenant Moore, accompanied by one of Major Sav- 
age's men, A. A. Gray, and some other volunteers, visited the valley 
with a company of United States troops, for the purpose of chas- 
tising the murderers. Five of them were found and immediately 
executed ; the wearing apparel of the murdered men being found 
upon them. This may shock the sensibilities of some, but it is 
conceded that it was necessary in order to put a quietus upon the 
murderous propensities of this lawless band, who were outcasts 
from the various tribes. After the murder, Ten-ie-ya, to escape 
the wrath he knew awaited him, fled to the Monos, on the eastern 
side of the Sierra. In the summer of 1853, they returned to the 

" As a reward for the hospitality shown them, they stole a 
lot of horses from the Monos, and ran them into the Yo-Semite. 
They were allowed to enjoy their plunder but a short time before 
the Monos came down upon them like a whirlwind. Ten-ie-ya 
was surprised in his wigwam, and, instead of dying the very poetic 
death of a broken heart, as was once stated, he died of a broken 
head, crushed by stones in the hands of an infuriated and wronged 
Mono chief. In this fight, all of the Yo-Semite tribe, except 
eight braves and a few old men and women, were killed or taken 
prisoners (the women only taken as prisoners), and thus, as a tribe, 
they became extinct. 

" It is proper to say, what I have before stated, that the Yo-Sem- 
ite Indians were a composite race, consisting of the disaffected of 
the various tribes from the Tuolumne to King's River, and hence 
the difficulty in our understanding of the name, Yo-Semite ; but 
that name, upon the writer's suggestion, was finally approved and 
applied to the valley, by vote of the volunteers who visited it. 
Whether it was a compromise among the Indians, as well as with 
us, it will now be difficult to ascertain. The name is now well 


established, and it is that by which the few remaining Indians 
below the valley call it. 

" Having been in every expedition to the valley made by volun- 
teers, and since that time assisted George H. Peterson (Fremont's 
engineer) in his surveys, the writer, at the risk of appearing ego- 
tistical, claims that he had superior advantages for obtaining cor- 
rect information, more especially as, in the first two expeditions, 
Ten-ie-ya was placed under his especial charge, and he acted as 
interpreter to Captain Boling. 

" It is acknowledged that Ah-wah-ne is the old Indian name for 
the valley, and that Ah-wah-ne-chee is the name of its original 
occupants ; but as this was discovered by the writer long after he 
had named the valley, and as it was the wish of every volunteer 
with whom he conversed that the name Yo-Semite be retained, 
he said very little about it. He will only say, in conclusion, that 
the principal facts are before the public, and that it is for them to 
decide whether they will retain the name Yo-Semite, or have 
some other. L. H. BUNNELL. 

" We, the undersigned, having been members of the same com- 
pany, and through most of the scenes depicted by Doctor Bun- 
nell, have no hesitation in saying, that the article above is correct. 


We cheerfully give place to the above communication, that the 
public may learn how and by whom this remarkable valley was 
first visited and named ; and, although we have differed with the 
w r riter and others concerning the name given, as explained in sev- 
eral articles that have appeared at different times in the several 
newspapers of the day, in which Yo-ham-i-te was preferred, yet, 
as Mr. Bunnell was among the first to visit the valley, we most 
willingly accord to him the right of giving it whatever name he 
pleases. At the same time, we will here enter the following rea- 
sons for calling it Yo-ham-i-te, the name by which we have been 
accustomed to speak of it. 

In the summer of 1855, we engaged Thomas Ayres, a well- 


known artist of San Francisco (who unfortunately lost his life by 
the wreck of the schooner Laura Bevan), to accompany us on a 
sketching tour to the Calaveras Big Trees and the valley above 
alluded to. Mr. W. Millard and A. Stair were also of the party. 

When we arrived tit Mariposa, we found that the existence 
even of such a valley was almost unknown among a large ma- 
jority of the people residing there. We made many inquiries 
respecting it, and how to find our way there ; but, although one 
referred us to another who had been there after Indians in 1851, 
and he again referred us to some one else, we could not find a 
single person who could direct us. In this dilemma we met Cap- 
tain Boling, the. gentleman spoken of above, who, although desir- 
ous of assisting us, confessed that it was so long since he was 
there, that he could not give us any satisfactory directions. 
" But," said he, " if I were you, I would go down to John Hunt's 
store, on the Frezno, and he will provide you with a couple of 
good Indian guides from the very tribe that occupied that valley." 

We adopted this plan, although it took us twenty-five or thirty 
miles out of our way ; deeming such a step the most prudent 
under the circumstances. Up to this time we had never heard or 
known any other name than " Yo-Semite." 

Mr. Hunt very kindly acceded to our request, and gave us two 
of the most intelligent and trustworthy Indians that he had, and 
the following day we set out for the valley. 

Toward night on the first day, we inquired of Kossum, one of 
our guides, how far he thought it might possibly be to the Yo- 
Semite Yalley, when he looked at us earnestly, and said : " No 
Yo-Semite! Yo-Hamite; sabe, Yo-Ham-i-te.f" In this way were 
we corrected not less than thirty-five or forty times on our way 
thither, by these Indians. After our return to San .Francisco, we 
made arrangements for publishing a large lithograph of the great 
falls ; but, before attaching the name to the valley and falls for 
the public eye, we wrote to Mr. Hunt, requesting him to go to 
the most intelligent of those Indians, and .from them ascertain the 
exact pronunciation of the name given to that valley. After at- 
tending to the request, he wrote us that " the correct pronuncia- 


tion was Yo-Ham-i-te, or Yo-Hem-i-te" And, while we most 
willingly acquiesce in the name of Yo-Semite, for the reasons 
above stated, as neither that nor Yo-Ham-i-te,- but Ah-wah-ne, is 
said to be the pure Indian name, we confess that our preferences 
still are in favor of the pure Indian being given ; but until that is 
determined upon (which we do not ever expect to see done now), 
Yo-Semite, we think, has the preference. Had we before known 
that Doctor Bunnell and his party were the first whites who ever 
entered the valley (although we have the honor of being the first, 
in later years, to visit it and call public attention to it\ we should 
long ago have submitted to the name Doctor Bunnell had given it, 
as the discoverer of the valley. 

At the time we visited it there was scarcely the outline of an 
Indian trail visible, either upon the way or in the valley, as all Were 
overgrown with grass or weeds, or covered with old leaves ; and 
nothing could be found there but the bleaching bones of animals 
that had been slaughtered, and an old acorn post or two, on which 
a supply of edibles had once been stored bj the Indian residents. 

Having thus explained the incidents and accidents connected 
with the early history of this remarkable place, we invite the cour- 
teous reader to give us the pleasure of his company thither, as we 
propose, with his kind permission, to act as " guide " for the occa- 
sion. But, 


Let us premise that almost every stranger who arrives on the Pa- 
cific Coast is frequently " at his wit's ends " to know how or where 
to obtain information upon the following subjects : 

1st. The direction and distances to the Yo-Semite Valley, and 
to the different groves of mammoth trees. 

2d. The easiest, cheapest, most expeditious, and most picturesque 
routes to take, with the probable cost of transportation for himself 
and effects to each and all of these places. 

3d. The best kind and probable amount of personal baggage 

4th. The best general course for him to follow to secure safety, 


comfort, economy, and a comprehensive knowledge of the most 
remarkable points of interest. 

Now, in order to make every tourist familiar with these facts, we 
must presume a very impertinent piece of presumption, no doubt, 
in many instances that they are not already in his possession. 
This point conceded, by way of commencement, we will place before 
him the following outline map of the different routes and points 
mentioned, so that he may see at a glance how they can be reached. 
With the map before you, a clear, general idea is obtainable. 

STOCKTON, you will perceive, is the main starting-point. If, 
therefore, as we have before suggested, you are on the great Over- 
land Railroad, and do not wish to go out of your way before visit- 
ing Yo-Semite, or the Big Tree Groves, you had better leave the 
train at Stockton. 

From here there are three main routes : First, via Copperopolis 
and Murphy's Camp to the Calaveras grove of mammoth trees ; 
thence back to Murphy's, through Sonora, Chinese Camp, and Big 
Oak Flat, to Yo-Semite. Second, via Knight's Ferry, Chinese 
Camp, and Big Oak Flat, to Yo-Semite. Third, by Hornitos, 
Mariposa, and the Mariposa grove of mammoth trees to Yo-Semite. 
One of the main travelled roads to Yo-Semite was formerly via Coul- 
terville, Bower Cave, and Blacks to Yo-Semite. This recently 
has been, we regret to say, but little travelled. A new road now in 
progress may revive its old prosperity. It has our best wishes. 

We now propose to give the following 


From Stockton, via the Calaveras Grove, to Jo- Semite. 

Miles. Total. 

f Copperopolis 36 

Murphy's Camp. 20 56 

Calaveras Grove 15 f 1 

Back to Murphy's Camp 15 86 

Sonora 14 100 

Chinese Camp 10 * 110 

Bi- Oak Flat 122 ^ 

Tuolumne South Grove Big Trees 

I Tamarack Flat 5 * 157 ' 

By Saddle Train. Hutchings' Hotel, in Yo-Semite 11 




From Stockton, via Knighfs Ferry (or Copperopolis), and Chinese Camp, to To- Semite. 

Miles. Total. 

f Knight's Ferry (or Copperopolis) 36 

Chinese Camp 15 51 

Jacksonville 4 55 

Keith's Orchard and Vineyard 1 56 

Steven's Bar Ferry 1 57-J 

Newhall & Culbertson's Vineyard 2 60 

Kirkwood's 2 62 

3 Big Oak Flat 1 63 

- First Garrote 2 65 

^ Second Garrote 2 67 

Sprague's Ranch 5 72 

Hamilton's Ranch 3 76 

Hardin's Mill. 7 83 

Bronson's Meadows 6 89 

Tuolumne South Grove Big Trees 3 J 92 

Crane Flat f 93 

I Tamarack Flat 4| 98 

f Top of Yo-Semite Mountain 3 101 

i Bottom of Yo-Semite Mountain 2{ 103 

| Green Meadow Spring 1 104J 

-{ Opposite Bridal Veil Fall f 105 

j Tu-tock-ah-nu-la (El Capitan) 1 106 

, Sentinel Hotel 2\ 108 

1 [ Hutchings' Yo-Semite Hotel i 109 

From Stockton, via Mariposa, and the Mariposa Mammoth Tree Grove, to To- Semite. 

Miles. Total. 

Salter's (Tuolumne River) 45 

Snelling's (Merced River) 13 58 

Murray's Ferry (Merced River) 4 62 

Hornitos 8 70 

Bear Valley 9 79 

Mariposa 13 92 

MormonBar 1| 931 

Spring House If 95 

Bolton's 4f lOOi 

Thompson's 2 J 102-J 

White & Hatch's H 103| 

Little Cut-Off H 105}- 

Forks of Road (take left hand) H 106f 




Lard's Ranch (Hogan's) ; 1 107* 

South Fork Chowchilla 2 1 09|- 

Upper Crossing Chowchilla 1 HOf 

Summit Spring f 11 1 

Big Creek Bridge 2| 113 

Clark's Ranch (South Fork Merced) H H5| 

Mariposa Grove of Mammoth Trees, and back to Clark's. . ]3 128| 

Camp Placido I 3f 132J 

Cold Water Creek ] 133f 

Alder Creek 134 

Grass Creek 134| 

Empire Camp 1 136 

Owl Camp \ 136f 

Green Spring Flat 2 138* 

W Westfall's Meadow f 139* 

Mountain View House 1 140f 

Highest Point on Trail 1 142| 

Last Meadow $ 143 

Inspiration Point 144 

Mount Beatitude (turning-off place) 144 

Hermitage H 145f 

Fern Spring (foot of mountain) 2 147f 

Bridal Veil Fall 1 148f 

Cathedral Spires 1 149| 

Sentinel Hotel 2f 152 

Hutchings' Yo-Semite Hotel | 152^ 

By the above tables it will be observed that the route from Stockton, via 

the Calaveras Big Tree Grove, to Yo-Semite is 168 

157^ by coach, and 11 on horseback. 

Knight's Ferry (or Copperopolis) and Chinese Camp, to Yo-Semite 109 

98 by coach and 11 on horseback. 

Mariposa and Mariposa Big Tree Grove, to Yo-Semite 152 

106f by coach, and 45f on horseback.* 


And one of the most picturesque in scenery, is, doubtless, that from 
Stockton, by Knight's Ferry (or if the Stockton and Copperopolis 
railroad has sufficiently progressed to allow it, via Copperopolis), 
to Chinese Camp, Big Oak Flat, Garrote, the Tuolumne South 

* A turnpike road company has been formed, for the purpose of constructing a road 
to Clark's, and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove ; so that during the summer of 1870 the 
distance, by this route, on horseback, may be very materially decreased. 


Grove of Mammoth Trees, and Tamarack Flat, to Yo-Semite. The 
entire distance by this route being only 109 miles ninety-eight 
of which are by coach, and the total fare from Stockton to 
Hutchings', in Yo-Semite Valley, not exceeding $20. It should 
also be remembered by those whose time is very limited, that by 
this route the tourist passes directly through the Tuolumne South 
Grove of Mammoth Trees, several of which are remarkably fine 
specimens of the genus. Through, by stage and saddle, in two 

Those persons who are unaccustomed to the fatigue of travel, 
and to whom comfort is as much of an object as sight-seeing, 
should not attempt the through trip in less than three days, 
reaching Chinese Camp only the first day. Next in importance, 
the route, 

claims our attention, not only on account of its being the first 
grove discovered, and the most celebrated, or from the wonderful 
size, height, and gracefulness of its trees, and these are remarka- 
ble, but for its close proximity to the finest grove of sequoias yet 
known in California. [For description of these groves see Chapter 
I.] By reference to the map and table of distances, page 80, it 
will be seen that our course lies through Copperopolis to Murphy's, 
distance fifty-six miles, and the fare $8 ; to Mammoth Tree Grove 
and back, thirty miles, fare $4 ; Murphy's to Sonora, fourteen 
miles, fare $2,50 ; Sonora to Chinese Camp, ten and a-half miles, 
fare $1.50; Chinese to Yo-Semite, fifty-eight miles, fare $13. 
Total distance 168-J- miles, 15T|- of which are by coach, and the 
total fare for the round trip, $29. Time required to make the journey 
comfortably will be about as follows : first day, to Murphy's ; second 
day, to and about the grove ; third day, return to Murphy's, thence 
to Sonora and to Chinese Camp ; fourth day, to Tamarack Flat ; 
fifth, arrive at Hutchings', in Yo-Semite, about noon. One day 
should be added to this if a visit is paid to the large " South 
Grove," near to that of Calaveras. 



Owing to the magnificence and number of the big trees in the 
Mariposa groves, and the impressive views obtained of Yo-Semite 
from Inspiration Point and Mount Beatitude, many prefer this 
route to either of the others. There can be no question that the 
scenes from the points named are unequalled ; but whether they 
are to be enjoyed on entering the valley, or by a special visit from 
the valley, or after becoming familiar with the different objects of 
interest in and around the valley, and on leaving it, must be deter- 
mined by the taste and wishes of the visitor. Those who prefer 
to enter this way, by consulting the map and table of distances, 
page 80, will find that, after leaving Stockton, their course lies 
through the singular old mining town of Hornitos to Bear Yalley, 
across the celebrated Mariposa or Fremont estate to Mariposa ; 
distance ninety-two miles, fare $10. Here saddle horses and 
guides have generally been obtained at the livery stables on the 
following terms: horses each per day, $2.50; guide per day, $3 ; 
board for guide, $3 ; horse for guide, $2.50, making the cost per 
day for each guide, $8.50, exclusive of horse feed. It is only just, 
however, to say that but little horse feed need be purchased until 
late in the summer and fall, as grass is tolerably abundant. Other 
arrangements may be made during the season for making the round 
trip from and to Stockton for about $50 or $55, but what they will 
be we are now unable to say. 

From Mariposa the road lies past the Mariposa Company's 
quartz mill, and over a pleasant, hilly country, dotted with oaks 
and pines, and numerous kinds of shrubs, to White & Hatch's, one 
of the neatest and most agreeable stopping-places to be found on 
either of the routes. Past De Long's orchard to the foot of the 
Chowchilla Mountain ; thence by a long and fatiguing climb (all 
mountain climbing generally partakes of this quality) to a delicious 
spring near the top of the divide, and which is nearly 6,000 feet 
above the sea, and some 2,800 feet above White & Hatch's. 
Thence the trail winds down a magnificently timbered and easy 
grade to Clark's ranch, on the South Fork of the Merced. Clark's 


is about 4,180 feet above sea level. Here also very agreeable 
quarters will be found : and Mr. Clark, one of the old pioneers of 
this region, will take real pride and pleasure in looking out for 
your creature comforts, and by giving you every information in his 

The road to the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees, here diverges from 
that for Yo-Semite, and is up a long and gradual ascent to an alti- 
tude above Clark's of some 1,500 feet. [For description of this 
grove, see Chapter Y.] 

From Clark's the trail continues up the side of the mountain in 
a dense growth of shrubbery nearly to the top of the divide, where 
it enters and continues through some of the finest stretches of 
forest, composed mainly of the yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa\ the 
sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana), and the cedar (Libocedrus decur- 
rens\ to be found in any portion of the world. Then for a few 
miles it runs across green patches of meadow, or over low ridges 
and spurs, whence it threads among numerous clumps of silver firs 
(Picea grandis and Picea amabalis), and groves of " tamaracks" 
(Pinus contorta); and as you ride along, glimpses of. the distant 
sierras are caught, upon whose lofty peaks, or in whose shadowy 
and sheltered gorges, snow lies eternally slumbering. You are now 
for the most part, about 7,000 feet above the sea. The highest 
portions of the trail being about 7,500 feet. 

As you now descend, the dark purple haze at your right reveals 
a near approach to the goal of your anticipations, the Mecca of 
this pilgrimage. Almost before the gratifying fact is realized, you 
have reached " Inspiration Point," and are standing out upon a 
bold promontory of rock, and with feelings all your own, are 
looking over the precipice of nearly three thousand feet, into the 
deep abyss. This is the first view obtained of Yo-Semite Yalley. 
Mr. Sidney Andrews, in his correspondence to the Boston Adver- 
tiser, thus writes of this glorious scene* : 

" Suddenly as I rode along, I heard a shout. I knew the 
valley had revealed itcelf to those who were at the front of the line. 
I turned my head away I couldn't look until I had tied my horse. 
Then I walked down to the ledge and crawled out upon the over- 


hanging rocks. I believe some men walk out there, it's a dull 
clod of a soul who can do that. In all my life, let it lead me where 
it may, I think I shall see nothing else so grand, so awful, so sub- 
lime, so beautiful, beautiful with a beauty not of this earth, as 
that Vision of the Yalley. It was only yesterday evening, I can- 
not write of it yet. How long I sat there on the rocks I never 
shall know. I brought the picture away with me ; I have only to 
shut my eyes and I see it as I saw it in that hour of hours. I 
think I shall see nothing else so sublime and beautiful, till, hap- 
pily, I stand within the gates of the Heavenly City." 

As you are now some eight and a half miles from the hotel, how- 
ever enchanting this spot may be, you must not linger here too 
long ; but, bringing lunch, after you are rested, pay it another visit 
from the valley, and make a day of it. Besides, a really finer view 
than this is obtained a short distance below, on " Mount Beati- 
tude," from whence a more comprehensive picture of the valley is 
realized. To see this, however, will require a short detour from 
the trail, and a little more time. 

Presuming that you could not resist the temptation of witness- 
ing the imposing view from Mount Beatitude and knowing the 
impossibility of even approximating justice in any written descrip- 
tion you will think of it as you descend the mountain, and dream 
of it both by day and by night. Presently you come to the " Hermit- 
age," a hollow sugar-pine tree that was the home of a solitary 
woodsman for nearly three months. One night, when the wind 
blew unpleasantly strong, he concluded that u discretion was the 
better part of valor," and vacated his nature-built cabin until the 
storm had subsided. 

Fine views of the valley are obtained at almost every turning 
point and, while assisting to distract your attention from the long 
and somewhat difficult descent, reward you for the trouble of 

At the foot of the mountain you arrive at " Fern Spring." The 
cooling, bower-like shade of the trees and shrubs, and the clear 
and sparkling brightness of the water, bubbling up among rocks 
and green-matted foliage, united to its almost icy coldness, may, 


after your journey down, especially if both you and the weather 
are warm, tempt an indulgence in too hearty a draught. This, 
however, should be studiously resisted for the first day or two, as 
persons unaccustomed to the pure cold water of Yo-Semite are in 
danger of being uncomfortably troubled with diarrhoea. 

Now as you ride across the Bridal Yeil meadow, with the u Bri- 
dal Yeil Fall " in full sight ; rainbow hues are toying and playing 
with its beautiful rockets, and mists, and sprays ; but, knowing that 
a full afternoon can be well spent in such glorious companionship; 
and that the setting sun, with scenes of interest on either hand to 
be viewed as you ride up the valley, admonish not to linger here 
too long you had better not tarry. Besides, by this time you 
will begin to feel that a refreshing glass of good California wine, 
a bath, dinner, and such other acceptable comforts as may be found 
at Hutchings' are not to be despised. Then, after you have rested 
and are comforted, sally out at your pleasure. 

The time required to make this trip by Mariposa comfortably 
will be about as follows : First day, to Hornitos ; second day, to 
Mariposa (or to White and Hatch's, llf miles farther), and in 
obtaining outfits of horses, etc. ; third day, to Clark's ; fourth day, 
to the Big Tree Grove and back ; fifth day, to Hutchings'. Those 
in a hurry can go to White & Hatch's the second day, to Clark's 
and the Big Tree Grove the third day, and to the Yo-Semite on 
the fourth. 


This, you will allow, is a difficult matter for us to determine, 
and one that will require your generous forbearance and assist- 
ance. These questions settled, we will suppose that your good 
sense (no flattery is intended) will suggest at the start that all 
Saratoga trunks should be eschewed reven if their dimensions do 
not exceed those of an ordinary cottage or two. If you have one 
of moderate pretensions be sure and carefully examine its contents 
with the view of laying aside every thing that you know will not be 
wanted. Next, turn over your effects again, and reject every thing 
you feel that you could conscientiously do without. The reason 


for all this will be apparent when we inform you that after the 
coach (and its capaciousness) is left behind, every article you take 
will have to be carried on your saddle animal, or on a pack-mule, 
for the balance of the way. 

Now, if health and comfort are studied, gentlemen will see that 
they have one extra of each of the following articles : One pair of 
good serviceable boots (not necessarily very heavy) that have been 
broken to the feet ; one complete outfit of under-clothing ; one 
woollen over-shirt ; three or four pairs of hose (woollen should be 
preferred) ; one pair of strong pants (old ones, if not too easily torn, 
would be the best, as they will be good for nothing after returning) ; 
pocket-handkerchiefs, and a few other necessary articles. Ladies 
would do well by taking some of the hints thrown out to gentlemen 
in providing themselves with woollen dresses of suitable strength, 
color, and texture, made in the Bloomer or other similar style, as 
such would be found to possess both comfort and adaptability ; a 
durable linen riding-habit ; boots that were made for wear more 
than for ornament ; a warm shawl ; and by making choice of such 
other articles that will suit their wants, wishes, and tastes, with- 
out further enumeration from us. 

At the best it will be difficult to give advice that will accord 
with every variety of condition and of circumstance. By way 
of illustration we may mention that an estimable and intel- 
ligent lady correspondent of a San Francisco paper visited 
To- Semite early in May, and finding the weather cool, advised 
every lady to go there warmly clad. Other ladies, later in the 
season, taking that advice, and finding the climate pleasantly 
warm, remarked, " How could Mrs. recommend us to come 
in such warm clothing ? when we return we will tell all our lady 
friends to choose none but light summer dresses ! " 

Trunks can be taken wherever coaches can go. Beyond that, 
as they have to be packed upon mules, the expenses of transpor- 
tation are necessarily increased. It is true that they can be safely 
left at the end of the stage route, but this would suggest the 
necessity of returning the same way. That necessity should 
always be avoided. It is much more satisfactory to be left fully at 


liberty to make your own choice ; and, where time and conveni- 
ence will permit, to go in one way and out the other, so that the 
scenes upon one road, however beautiful, may afford a pleasing 
contrast to those of the other. Our advice, therefore, would be to 
leave your trunk in Stockton (unless you intend to spend some 
weeks or months in Yo-Semite), so that after you return from your 
ride in the mountains you may be refreshed by a bath and 
change of clothing, before taking the steamboat or cars for San 
Francisco or Sacramento. 

Supposing, then, that you have concluded to leave your trunks 
behind, as a portion of the journey is on horseback, the most con- 
venient receptacle for clothing will be a pair of saddle-bags. 
Next to these, a flexible valise is best. Gentlemen in a hurry 
will sometimes strap up all the clothing they expect to need in an 
overcoat, and tie it at the back of their saddle. Do not, how- 
ever, suppose that it is impossible to pack in almost any thing, 
from a cooking range to a six-story house in pieces, but such 
things cost money. These remarks are only intended for those 
who wish to be economical in their expenditures. (i Nuf ced." 


It is presumed, would be that which will obtain for him the 
greatest amount of enjoyment and information for the smallest 
amount of money. To secure these, experience has taught us that 
one cannot be too explicit in his directions. Therefore, the motive 
which prompts the following details, let us hope, will be considered 
a sufficient apology for their introduction. 


San Francisco will doubtless be the central point of attraction. 
There, the new " Grand Hotel," leased by the former proprietor 
of the " Lick House," the " Cosmopolitan," and the " Occidental," 
are the principal hotels. Their charges are, we believe, $3 per day. 
Next come the " Kuss House," " Brooklyn Hotel," and others, 
whose charges are from $2 to $2.50 per day. All prices in Califor- 
nia, remember, are upon a gold basis. These hotels can all be 


reached by street-car, fare 6J- cents, by making your destination 
known to the conductor. Cars are near to most of the wharves 
and railway termini. The obliging book-keepers and clerks at all 
first-class hotels will give you reliable information concerning the 
city and State. 


Meals and beds, when travelling in California, will be from 50 cts. 
to $1 each averaging about $3 per day. At Hutchings', in Yo- 
Semite, hotel charges are $3 50 per day, $20 per week, or $75 per 
month. At the Calaveras Grove of Mammoth Trees, and at 
Clark's, the nearest house to the Mariposa Grove, the prices are 
about the same. Perhaps it will not be far out of place here to say 
that meals, on the great overland railway, are from 75 cts. (in cur- 
rency) to $1.25, and will average about $1 each. From Chicago to 
Omaha, a berth in a sleeping-car is $3 per night ; from Omaha to 
Ogden, $4 per night, including its use in the day-time ; from Ogden 
to San Francisco, $3 per day and night. 

If you contemplate a visit to Yo-Semite, or the Big Trees, 
and but few would go to California, and have the courage on their 
return to say that they had not been there, send for the authorized 
Route Agent, Edward Harrison, Esq., of the stage and saddle train 
companies,"* and have a good talk and a clear understanding with 
him about every thing. Know exactly how much will be his full 
charge to convey you from San Francisco or Stockton to Yo- 
Semite, and back direct ; how much if you wish to go by either 
grove of mammoth trees, and back. See, also, that the sum named 
includes guides, and saddle-horses in the valley, so that there shall 
be no annoying "extras." Once fully satisfied that every thing is 
" on the square " (as we say in California), pay him your fare, and 
receive from him a properly certified set of coupons for the trip. 

* "Where this gentlemen can be found or addressed, is generally published in some 
..of the newspapers. 



One word more before starting. Have you been accustomed to 
horseback riding ? If you have not, you will add very much to 
the enjoyment of the trip by practising a little every day on some 
reliable animal ; as experience in this gives a fearlessness of action 
that adds much to the pleasure of such a delightful ride. 

Supposing that the reader has already formed one of our party 
as far as Stockton from San Francisco, in Chap. I. ; and supposing, 
also, that he will give us the pleasure of his company on the shortest 
and easiest route to Yo-Semite, and especially as it is also one of the 
most picturesque, besides being the freest from dust, with the 
assurance, also, that the scenery on the others is substantially 
very similar, we will choose that, via Big Oak Mat. 

It is nearly six o'clock A. M., and time to be off. The most to be 
desired of all places on a stage, is the one known as the " box-seat' 7 
This is with the coachman : for if he is intelligent, and in a good 
humor, he can tell you of all the sights by the way, with the per- 
sonal history of nearly every man and woman you may meet, the 
qualities and a points" of every horse upon the road, with all the 
adventures, jokes, and other good things he has seen and heard, 
during his thousand and one trips, under all kinds of circum- 
stances, and in all sorts of weather. In short, he is a living road 
encyclopaedia, to be read and studied at intervals by the occupant 
of " the box-seat." 

You saw that look and motion of the coachman's head ? That 
was at once a sign of recognition and of invitation to the privileged 
seat at his side, as we are old acquaintances. But, as you are a 
stranger, and as every excursion of real pleasure like the happiest 
experiences of social life become dependent to a very great ex- 
tent upon little courtesies and kindnesses that cost nothing, we 
wish to set a good example to the party, and to you, by foregoing 
selfishness, and by trying to secure that seat for you. No thanks are 
needed, as every pleasure is doubled by being shared. Now, sup- 


posing that you are the occupant of the " box-seat," \ve will make 
one suggestion invite the driver to accept one of your best cigars, 
and as its smoke and fragrance are rising on the air, you will 
gradually become better acquainted, learning his secrets on the out- 
side, while we are talking to those within. Now, 


Leaving Stockton, then, we journey over a level and oak-studded 
plain to the " Twelve Mile House," where we change horses and 
take breakfast, which generally occupies fifteen to twenty min- 
utes. Here we change horses. The country then gradually be- 
comes gently rolling, and, although covered with wild flowers, is 
almost barren of trees or shrubs. We again change horses at the 
Twenty-five Mile House, At noon we reach Knight's Ferry, a 
small settlement on the Stanislaus River, where a group of sturdy 
miners probably is congregated in front of the hotel, and a bell an- 
nounces that dinner is ready. 

This was once one of the most flourishing of placer mining towns, 
but now, like many similar ones in the mining districts, its pros- 
perity is on the wane. Being the seat of government for Stanis- 
laus County, and surrounded by numerous ranches and vineyards, 
there is considerable life still manifest. Miners here frequently 
used to find garnets and opals in their mining sluices when clean- 
ing them out at night A fine stratum of yellow ochre, several 
feet in thickness, lies on the south bank of the river ; also large 
masses of crude iron, in blocks containing scores of cubic feet each. 

After taking refreshments, with loss of our appetites and forty- 
five minutes, we not only again change horses, but find ourselves 
and our baggage changed to another stage as the newest and best- 
looking ones seem to be retained for the comparatively level and 
city end of the route, while the dust-covered and paint-worn are 
used for the mountains. 

Shortly after leaving Knight's Ferry, we cross the " Stanislaus 
Bridge " a very substantial structure and wind to the left, over 
a spur of the celebrated " Table Mountain." This formation is 
very remarkable, from its being apparently level for some fifteen 


miles, and composed of volcanic scoria or trap. Beneath it, and 
in the bed of a now extinct river, very rich gravel diggings were 
discovered, which made several men wealthy. At different points 
upon onr winding way, as we thread our course among the oak- 
studded hills, we obtain glimpses of this singular deposit. 

About the middle of the afternoon we arrive at Chinese Camp, 
where, if we are wise and have time, we shall remain for the night, 
and place ourselves and our comforts in care of Count Solinsky, 
the obliging landlord of the " Garrett House," who will, if we wish 
it, cheerfully show us the interesting sights in and around the 
town. Whether we go or stay, our bags and baggage are here 
removed from the Sonora stage, and, if we want to continue our 
journey without delay, will be promptly placed upon the one bound 
for Garrote. In any event, let us see that our luggage is in our 
own safe-keeping before the stage leaves the door. A little trouble 
now will save us from much annoyance in the future. 


An early start preceded by a good cup of coffee on a sum- 
mer's morning, will prove to us the pleasantest portion of the day. 
The deliciously bracing "Champagne atmosphere" (as a lady 
friend of ours so naively expresses it) is quaffed with a delight and 
zest that makes itself felt through every portion of the human 
frame. Still on, on we roll, now over gently swelling hills, now 
along shallow ravines, then down a well-graded road to the Tuo- 
lumne River and Jacksonville. This village is supported mainly 
by river mining and the placer diggings of Wood's Creek. Within 
a stone's throw is one of the earliest fruit gardens in the State. A 
short drive above this will bring us to a shady flower-covered 
retreat, known as " Keith's Orchard and Yineyard." Here fruits 
of every rare variety known in the temperate zone can be found, 
and of the finest quality. Let us hope that we are just in their 
season. The grapes will be found especially large and fine in 
flavor. Let us not pass without testing their excellence, not for- 
getting the old adage, that fruit is gold in the morning, silver at 
noon, and lead at night. 


About a mile above Keith's we cross the Tuolumne River on the 
Stevens' Bar Ferry, and drive up Moccasin Creek some two and a 
half miles to "Newhall and Culbertson's Vineyard." This is 
another of those delightful wayside tarrying-places where fruit of 
the finest quality is in abundance, and where we can obtain a 
glass of the most delicious white wine to be had in any portion of 
the State. It is but simple justice to these people to say that their 
charges are not only very reasonable, but always low. 

For the next two miles our road is on the side of a mountain, 
covered with a dense mass of shrubbery, among which will be 
found the manzanita, buckeye, mountain mahogany, pipe wood, 
Indian arrow, granite wood, and numerous other kinds all of 
which, if cut in the proper season, November to March, are hard 
and useful furniture woods, susceptible of a very high polish. 

You will think this quite a mountain to climb and it is. It 
will be well, however, to bear in mind, that, before we commence 
the descent toward Yo-Semite, we have to attain an altitude of 
nearly seven thousand feet ; we must, therefore, commence ascend- 
ing somewhere, and why not here? It will be a task upon our 
patience, perhaps, but as it seems to be a trial of both wind and 
muscle to the horses, we may surely console ourselves with the 
thought that we can stand it if they can. Up, up we toil, many 
of us on foot, perhaps, in order to ease the faithful and apparently 
overtasked animals, which puff and snort like miniature locomo- 
tives, while the sweat drops from them i'n abundance. 

One quiet evening in the height of summer, after the sun had 
set, and the deep purple atmosphere almost peculiar to California 
had changed to sombre gray, we (the passengers) were wending 
our way up the mountain, on foot, and a little ahead of the stage, 
when a rustling sound, just below the road, startled us with its 
singular and suspicious distinctness, and dark, shadowy forms 
were gently threading their way among the bushes. Our hearts 
beat uncomfortably fast, and we instinctively felt for our revolvers, 
but they were in the stage. It should be told that at this time 
numerous robberies had been committed upon the highway by 
Joaquin, Tom Bell, and their respective gangs. " We are caught," 


whispered one. " They will rob, and perhaps murder us," sug- 
gested another. " We can die but once," bravely retorted a third. 
" Let us all keep close together," pantomimed a fourth. " "Who 
goes there? " loudly challenged a fifth. "A friend," exclaimed 
the ringleader of a party of miners who were climbing the steep 
sides of the mountain just at our side, with their blankets at their 
backs, all walking to town, and who had caused all our alarm ; 
and as he and his companions quietly seated themselves by the road- 
side, they commenced wiping oif the perspiration, and gave us cor- 
dial salutation in good plain English. " Why, bless us, these men, 
who have almost frightened us out of our seven senses, are fellow- 
travellers ! " " Couldn't you see that ? " now valorously inquired 
one whose knees had knocked uncontrollably together with fear 
only a few' moments before. At this we all laughed ; and the 
coachman, having stopped his stage, said, " Get in, gentlemen," 
and we had enough to talk and joke about until we reached Kirk- 

This brings us to the last-named place. Here we stop to water 
the horses and change the mails and passengers to the Coul- 
terville-bound stage this being the turning-off point for the 
latter-named town. We have by this time probably received 
sundry admonitions from within that the comforting morning meal 
has not, as yet, been duly furnished to a tenantless stomach, 
accompanied, possibly, with the secret wish that Garrote and 
breakfast are not far off. That it is only three miles, over a 
tolerably good road, is at this time an encouraging thought. 

As we jog along, we must not omit to notice the evidences of 
mining on either hand, even if we forget the unpleasant fact that 
a miner's labors almost invariably bring desolation to the land- 
scape. Nor must we pass unseen the sturdy branch-lopped and 
root-cut veteran trunk of a noble and enormous oak, some eleven 
feet in diameter, still standing on our right ; as it was from this 
once famous tree that " Big Oak Flat," the village through which 
we are passing, received its name. Then, however, its immense 
branch-crowned top gave refreshing shadow to the traveller, and 
beauty to the scene. We fear that many a year will have made 


its faithful record before our virtues become sufficiently Christian 
to confess forgiveness to those who committed, or permitted, the 
vandal act of its destruction. We take real comfort in the thought 
that its storm-beaten, dead, and limbless form must daily admin- 
ister stinging reproofs to every one whose act, or silence, gave 
sanction to the deed. " So mote it be !" 

" Breakfast !" shouts the coachman (a musical sound indeed to 
us, even though his voice were cracked, and it isn't), as he " pulls 
up " at Savory's, the jovial and obliging landlord of the Washing- 
ton Hotel, Garrote. We predict that if he knows that we are 
coming, and we are certain that he does, he will spread before us 
an excellent repast, especially for a mining town. Perhaps it 
will not be out of place here to say, in all kindness, that no trav- 
eller should expect to find meals and accommodations in the 
mountains of California equal to those of the " Grand Hotel," the 
" Cosmopolitan," or the " Occidental," in San Francisco. And 
perhaps he doesn't. " If so, why so." Then we take it all back. 

While the stage is settling our breakfasts, and we are advancing 
toward another euphoniously named mining camp, known as " Sec- 
ond Garrote" (we should like to " garrote" the name-givers of these 
villages until they repented), we must caution you against stop- 
ping (so soon after leaving Savory's, you know), at Chaffey & Cham- 
berlain's ; for their delicious pears and other fruits will be sure to 
tempt you to eat again, and it is a long way to the doctor's ! 
Then, if you think of the amount of internal freight taken in but 
two miles below, ought you in conscience to add to it without 
paying extra ? But this being the last orchard seen on this side 
of Yo-Semite ; and this, moreover, being considered a " pleasure 
trip," we will accept of your pardon for mentioning such trifles as 
apples, hoping that you have sufficient caution not to allow the 
driver to see you cram them into your pockets, unless prepared to 
pay for " extra baggage." We will talk to him about a new road 
up the mountain while you have an eye to business. 

A short ascent up a somewhat steep hill, brings us to the ups 
and downs of a ridge road, with timber and shrubbery on both 
sides. The large ditch we cross several times is that of the Golden 


Rock Water Co.'s, constructed for the purpose of supplying the 
mining towns below with water for mining purposes. This work 
will be seen at different times until we pass the " Big Gap," where 
lie the broken fragments of a flume, once the pride of its engineers, 
as the finest wooden structure of the kind in the State, having a 
height of two hundred and sixty-four feet above the Gap, and a 
length of two thousand two hundred feet, costing the snug little 
amount of pocket change of eighty thousand dollars. A strong 
wind one night told the sad story, that " the best-laid plans of 
mice and men gang oft aglee," and made it the wreck you see. 
Xow, a large iron tube placed upon the ground answers the pur- 
pose of the flume. This only cost, we are informed, some twelve 
thousand dollars. There is but little danger of this being blown 
over, that is one comfort. Our hope and wish is that it may not 
be inclined to go upon " a bender." 

Calling at Sprague's Ranch to pay our respects to the owner, as 
we are largely indebted to the enterprise of Mr. Sprague for the 
construction of the new road to liardin's ; become refreshed if we 
need " refreshing ;" change or water the horses ; and, to avoid a 
side hill covered with loose volcanic scoria, pass through his farm 
on our winding way. 

As we advance it is evident that the timber becomes larger, and 
the forest land more extensive. The gently rolling hills begin to 
give way to tall mountains ; and the quiet and even tenor of the 
landscape changes to the wild and picturesque. An occasional 
deer may shoot across our track ; or covies of quail, with their 
beautiful plumage and nodding " top-knots," whirr among the 
bushes. The robin and meadow lark and oriole may prove to us 
that they still have a love and a voice for music ; and the u too 
coo-" ing of the dove tells that its voice " is still heard in our land." 
Instead of the eastern " woodpecker tapping at the hollow beach- 
tree," the red-headed Calilbrnian variety, known as the carpenter 
(el carpintero) woodpecker, may be seen busily engaged boring 
holes in the bark of a large pine-tree, and afterward carefully fit- 
ting and filling them up with acorns, or critically examining them 
apparently for his own amusement, or for purposes known only to 


himself. The reason for these arc still, we believe, a mystery to 
naturalists. As the greatest activity in storing was in the fall, 
and the inspection went on at other seasons, it was for many years 
supposed that an instinctive provision for a coming want was the 
cause. But as this variety of woodpecker has seldom or never been 
seen feeding on the acorn, or on the supposed insect which it con- 
tained, some doubt has arisen as to the satisfactory nature of its 
occupation. Perhaps some student of the habits of this singular 
bird may give us some interesting facts connected with its history. 
. While we are talking, the horses have again stopped before a neat 
house in a green meadow. This is "Hamilton's," near to the 
" Big Gap." We feel it a duty to mention every deserving way- 
side public-house, above the settlements, so that any traveller who. 
from either choice or necessity, wishes to eat, drink", or sleep, may 
know where to go. But as we must not tarry too long by the way, 
we will now say that seven miles above is u Hardin's Mill ;'' six 
miles farther is " Hodgden's," at the Bronson meadows ; five miles 
farther is u Goburn's," at Crane Flat ; and five miles farther 
brings us to "Tamarack Flat." These people having provided for 
the wants of the public, will be pleased to receive, we doubt not, 
such patronage as any may have to bestow. 

Who, in feeble language, can fully disclose to us the grandeur 
of the scenery that opens before us a short distance east of the Big 
Gap ? When the painter's art can build the rainbow upon canvas 
so as to deceive the sense of sight when simple words can tell the 
depth and height, the length and breadth of u single thought 
or the physician's skill delineate, beyond peradventure, the hidden 
mysteries of a living soul then, ah ! then, it may be possible. 

Deep down in an abyss before us is a gulf a canon of more 
than two thousand feet. The gleaming, silvery thread, seen run- 
ning among boulders, is the Tuolumne River, a hundred feet in 
width. Its rock-ribbed sides, in places, show not a vestige of a 
tree or shrub. In others, its generous soil has clothed the almost 
perpendicular walls with verdure. As the eye wanders onward 
and upward it traces the pine-clad outlines of distant gorges whose 
tributary waters compose and swell the volume of the stream 


beneath us. To the right, surrounded by noble trees, can be dis- 
cerned a bright speck it is a waterfall a hundred feet in height 
and thirty feet in width. In the far distance, piercing the clouds, 
the snow-covered peaks of the sierras lift their glorious heads of 
sheen, while a beautiful purple haze casts its broad, softening 
man tie over all. 

Our road, shaded by lofty pines and umbrageous oaks and 
cooled by a delicious breeze, lies safely near the edge of the preci- 
pice, the whole panorama rolled vividly out before us. It is such 
scenes as this that introduce refreshing change to such a journey. 
We know of no view equal to it, so far from the valley, on either 
of the other routes. 

Crossing the bridge of the south fork of the Tuolumne, our 
course is upward for a considerable distance until we reach liar- 
din's, and possibly dinner. Beyond, we again cross the south 
fork, and still our course is upward, until we have reached a long 
stretch of elevated table-land that, for timber, is not excelled in 
any portion of the State. Large sugar-pine trees (Pinus Lamber- 
iiana) from live to ten feet in diameter, and over two hundred feet 
in height, devoid of branches for sixty or a hundred feet, and straight 
as an arrow, everywhere abound. Besides these, there are thou- 
sands of yellow pines (Pinus ponderosa), Douglas firs (Abies 
Douglasii\ and cedar (Libocedrus decurrens\ that are but little, 
if any, smaller or shorter than the sugar-pines. These forests areS 
not covered up with a dense undergrowth, as at the east, but give I 
long and ever-changing vistas for the eye to penetrate.^) Well 
might Mr. Horace Greeley write concerning them : 

" Here let me renew my tribute to the marvelous bounty and 
beauty of the forests of this whole mountain region. The Sierra 
Nevadas lack the glorious glaciers, the frequent rains, the rich 
verdure, the abundant cataracts of the Alps ; but they far surpass 
them they surpass any other mountains I ever saw in the wealth 
and grace of their trees. Look down from almost any of their 
peaks, and your range of vision is filled, bounded, satisfied, by 
what might be termed a tempest-tossed sea of evergreens, filling 
every upland valley, covering every hill-side, crowning every 


peak but the highest, with their unfading luxuriance. That I 
saw, during this day's travel, many hundreds of pines eight feet 
in diameter, with cedars at least six feet, I am confident ; and 
there were miles of such, and smaller trees of like genus, standing 
as thick as they could grow. Steep mountain-sides, allowing 
these giants to grow, rank above rank, without obstructing each 
other's sunshine, seem peculiarly favorable to the production of 
these serviceable giants. But the Summit Meadows are peculiar 
in their heavy fringe of balsam fir, of all sizes, from those barely 
one foot high to those hardly less than two hundred, their branches 
surrounding them in collars, their extremities gracefully bent down 
by the weight of winter snows, making them here, I am confident, 
the most beautiful trees on earth. The dry promontories which 
separate these meadows, are also covered with a species of spruce, 
which is only less graceful than the firs aforesaid. I never before 
enjoyed such a tree- feast as on this wearing, difficult ride." 


Talking of trees, almost before we know it, we are entering the 
" Tuolumne South Grove " of mammoth trees, as our road lies 
directly through it. These trees are of the same genus (Sequoia 
giyantea) as those of Calaveras, Mariposn, and other similar 
groves. There are about thirty in this group. Several of them 
are remarkably fine specimens oT the Big Tree family. Two of 
them, which grew from the same root, and unite a few feet above 
the base, are called " The Siamese Twins." These are about one 
hundred and fourteen feet in circumference at the ground, and, 
consequently, about thirty-eight feet in diameter of course, 
including both. The bark has been cut on one side of one of these 

* Mr. G-reeley, \vo believe, rode from Bear Valley to the Yo-Semite over sixty 
miles in one day. He had not, it is said, been in a saddle before for thirty years. 
Tho mule he rode was considered the hardest trotting brute in America ; and Mr. G. 
(not the mule) being somewhat corpulent, there was but little unabrased cuticle left ' 
him. Arriving at the hotel after midnight, he was lifted from his saddle, and at his 
own request, put supperless to bed. A little after noon the same day, having speak- 
ing engagements to fulfill, lie started back without even seeing the Lake, or the great 
sights on the main river the " Vernal " and the ' Nevada " falls. 


and has been found to measure twenty inches in thickness., ^ 
the u Twins" there are two others which mea&ure^se^ 
feet around their base. There is one black stump still standing 
that must have once represented a tree not less than one hundred 
feet in circumference. Within a few yards of this grows one of 
the finest representatives of this wondrous family to be found. 

" Excelsior " being our motto, we shall soon reach " Crane 
Flat." These flats are grassy meadows, interspersed among the 7 
mountain districts, and are generally the heads of creeks or rivers, 
being almost always " springy." Of late years they are fed off by 
bands of sheep brought up from the plains when the feed there 
has become short or dry. Running upon or over trails, they are 
apt to obliterate all traces of the traveller's course, and where a 
short turn is made, great care is needed, by the inexperienced, 
prevent being lost. 

In the early spring the snow upon the main road being deep, a 
detour is here made from the regular course. At such a time we 
strike a little south of east, down the flat, past the front of the old 
cabin, carefully looking out for and following u the blazes." These 
"blazes " are axe marks in the trees. This is known as the " Old 
Coulterville Route ;" and although, in addition to being several 
miles further round, a long mountain has to be descended and 
another one climbed, it is the safest and most speedy in the early 
spring. A guide, then, however, will be very necessary. 

Let us hope that we can continue on the shortest and easiest 
route. This will be in a northeasterly course until we have sur- 
mounted the crest of the dividing ridge which separates the waters 
of the Tuolumne from those of the Merced. Here we are some 
seven thousand feet above the sea. From this ridge magnificent 
views of the distant landmarks and snow-covered peaks of the 
sierras open at brief intervals before us ; while timber-covered 
ridges and gorges, like waves of the sea, stretch farther and farther 
away to the verge of the distant horizon; with an occasional 
mountain of verdureless ruck, like an island, standing gloriously 
out as if to defy the further encroachments of those evergreen 
masses of pines. There does not seem to be a foot of ground over 


, we , are passing that has not some novelty to charm us. 

R^ tlje Jeixgtherting shadows in silence admonish us not to tarry 
too long. Reluctantly we take a long lingering look, and com- 
mence our descent toward the wonderful valley. 

The apparently omnipresent forest overarches our way ; and 
beautiful firs (Picea amabalis and, Picea grandis) and "tama- 
racks" (Pinus contorta) stand sentinel guard on every hand ; while 
patches of stunted manzanita (Arctostaphylos ylancd), with its 
evergreen leaves and fragrant, waxy-like blossoms, and different 
species of California lilac (Ceanothus), literally loading the air 
with its perfume, and brightening the landscape with its flowery 
plumes of purple or white, attract our attention, until, by a gentle 
declivity, we arrive at " Tamarack Flat." 

Here, for the present at least, our stage ride will probably end, 
and that by horseback begin. Here, too, if we are not tired, we 
should walk about among the singular groups of granite rocks that 
surround the house. Their quaint forms and unique combinations 
of picturesque beauty, will w r ell repay examination. These will 
make an agreeable interchange of rest and recreation for a few 
hours. The house itself, and its accommodations, will be found to 
be, like the scenery around it, somewhat meagre perhaps, but we 
trust with enough of enjoyment in it to make the visit a remem- 
brance of pleasure. 

Now, the novelty of the circumstances and situation to many 
may be fruitful of confusion, or disappointment, or dissatisfaction, 
and even of discord, if the following motto is not inscribed upon 
every one's intent and purpose : 


This being cheerfully and unanimously conceded, we predict 
for all a delightful trip. To secure its immediate as well as ulti- 
mate success, permit us to make one or two suggestions before 
starting : First, Let there be one chosen leader for the party, 
whose excellent judgment and considerate attention shall be 
beyond question. Then, after mutual conference with each other 
upon any desirable movement, let him execute the wishes of the 


majority. Two heads, we grant, are better than one in consulta- 
tion, but not in execution. Second, In the selection of horses see 
to it that the easiest and best is secured for the most aged, or most 
weakly, or the most timid. And if experience teaches that an 
error IIP,S been committed, and that after all either possesses the 
favorite animal, let us promptly offer it to the one our better nature 
tells us should be the rider. Third, Start and keep as nearly as 
possible together. Do not " straggle." If it is perceived that one 
of our friends has not the knowledge of riding, or the daring to 
keep up with us, let us not leave them, but rein in, and keep them 
company. We shall thus make them our devoted friends, and 
surely this would be a better reward than the boast that we had 
reached the hotel first, and secured the best rooms. The most 
thorough enjoyments of life are those which arise in generous and 
sympathetic consideration for, or concession to, the wants and 
wishes of others. 

Before mounting let the guide examine and see that every 
saddle is perfectly safe. There should be no neglect, or doubt, 
about this ; for, although there is no real danger, due precaution 
will avoid any. " All ready ? " Then, 



The gentle undulations and gradual declivities of the trail give 
opportunity for renewed confidence, both in ourselves and in our 
horses. This will leave us at liberty to notice the continuation of 
the glorious forest : the singular and attractive groupings of the 
rocks, additional to the conformation of numerous isolated speci- 
mens, one of which (on our right) resembles, and is named, u The 
Decanter." and another, " The Sphynx." 

About two and a half miles from Tamarack Flat, we arrive at 
Cascade Creek, across which is a rude bridge ; almost immediately 
after crossing which it will be well for the whole party to keep at 
least one eye open for the beautiful scene at our left. In the dis- 
tance looms squarely up a bold and lofty mountain. In the fore- 
ground the stream rushes heedlessly on among large rocks, as if 
indifferent of its fate ; now leaping over this, and dashing on and 
past that; here with a seething, there with a roaring sound; yon- 
der bubbling and gurgling, or 

" Smokin, and frothin' 
Its tumult and wrath in," 

until the enchanting sight, united with its songs and performances, 
may tempt us to linger too long. 

Half a mile farther we come to the top of a rocky promontory, 
and before us is presented a view that will equal, if not surpass, 
any we have yet seen. This is u Prospect Point." While the 
guide is again arranging and securing our saddles (never permit 
this to be omitted), preparatory to the descent of the mountain, let 
us realize, i f we can, its ineffable grandeur. That bright and 
sparkling stream is the Merced (meaning " River of Mercy"). Re- 
leased from its pure snowy reservoir among the tops of the Sierras, 
it has leaped the wonderful walls of Yo-Semite, jind is hurrying 
on through an almost impassable canon, to fertilize and gladden the 
valleys below. Three clays were once spent by us in that canon, 
alone, seeking to know if a home could be made in Yo-Semite 
during winter. In the far distance lies "Mount Bullion," the 
easterly boundary of the Fremont grant. In the hollow to the 
right is a waterfall of some eight hundred feet, made by the union 



of the " Big " and " Little " Cascade Creeks. Beyond that is the 
" Stand-point of Silence," on the old Coulterville trail ; the view 
from which look in or 


up through the canon 
and into the valley is 
inexpressibly grand. 
Now with your per- 
mission we \vill com- 
mence the descent of 
the mountain. There 
is nothing in it to 
make us nervous or 
uneasy. Keep a mod- 
erately tight rein, and 
trust to your horse. 
He knows where to 
place his foot firmly 
at every step. He 
makes his own per- 
sonal safety a study, 
as well as ours. There 
are but one or two 
very steep places in 
the entire descent. 
The most timid may 
wish to dismount and 
walk at those places. 
As they are short, 
that is soon accom- 
plished. And upon 
the whole, although 
we breathe more free- 
ly when the valley is 
reached, it is over with almost before we know it. 

The picturesque wildness of the scene on every hand ; the excit- 
ing wonders of so romantic a journey ; the difficulties surmounted ; 


the dangers braved and overcome, put us in possession of one 
unanimous feeling of unalloyed delight ; so that when we reach 
the foot of the mountain, and look upon the beautiful rapids of the 
river rolling and swelling at the side of the trail, while a forest of 
oaks and pines stands sentinel on its banks, or ride side by side 
among the trees in the valley, we congratulate each other upon 
looking the very picture of happiness personified. 


Irom a Photograph by C. L. Weed. 

We will here remark that there are but two localities by which 
this valley can at present be safely entered, the one by which 
we have come, and the other immediately opposite the river, by 
way of Mariposa. Should a railroad ever enter the valley and 


even now one is in contemplation its course will, substantially, 
follow that of the river up the canon. 


When nearly opposite the "Pohono" or " Bridal Veil " Fall, 
by noticing the second high point of the mountain west, a large 
head and strikingly noble features of a man in profile can easily 
be distinguished. This is connected with the legend of Tu-tock- 
ah-nu-lah, alluded to in other portions of this chapter, who is 
awaiting the return of his long-lost and lamented Tis-sa-ac. 

Here, too, if it is evening, a strong breeze is generally noticed, 
first among the foliage of the trees, then by its swaying their tops 
and branches, and afterward by its refreshing coolness on the 
brow. This breeze seldom extends beyond a circumference half 
a mile in diameter, and probably became the origin of the Indian 
tradition from whence the name " Pohono " derived its significa- 
tion. After passing through this cool circle, gusts of warm wind 
are frequently felt at intervals for some two miles. Having had 
to ride up the valley many times after sunset, these experiences 
have almost always been realized. 

Fatigued as we may be, every object around us has an interest 
as we pass this point, or watch that shadow slowly climbing those 
towering granite walls, when the last rays of the setting sun are 
quietly draping the highest peaks of this wonderful valley with a 
purple veil of hazy ether ; or, as Mr. Greeley expresses it, in his 
interesting descriptive visit, 

" That first full, deliberate gaze up the opposite height ! can I 
ever forget it ? The valley is here scarcely half a mile wide while 
its northern wall of mainly naked, perpendicular granite, is at 
least four thousand feet high probably mor;. But the modicum 
of moonlight that fell into this awful gorge [Mr. Greelqj| arrived 
in the night] gave to that precipice a vagueness of outline, an 
indefinite vastness, a ghostly and weird spirituality. Had the 
mountain spoken to me in audible voice, or begun to lean over 
with the purpose of burying me beneath its crushing mass, I 
should hardly have been surprised. Its whiteness, thrown into 



bold relief by the patches of trees or shrubs which fringed or 
flecked it wherever a few handfuls of its moss, slowly decomposed 
to earth, could contrive to hold on, continually suggested the 
presence of snow, which suggestion, with difficulty refuted, was 
at once renewed. And, looking up the valley, we saw just such 
mountain precipices, barely separated by intervening water- 
courses of inconsiderable depth, and only receding sufficiently to 
make room for a very narrow meadow inclosing the river, to the 
furthest limit of vision." 

From a Photograph by C. L. Weed. 



Our trail, for the most part, lies among giant pines, from two 
hundred to two hundred and fifty feet in height, and beneath the 
refreshing shade of outspreading oaks and other trees. Not a 
sound breaks the expressive stillness that reigns, save the occa- 
sional chirping and singing of birds as they fly to their nests, or 
the low, distant sighing of the breeze in the tops of the forest. 
Crystal streams occasionally gurgle and ripple across our path, 
whose sides are fringed with willows and wild flowers that are 
ever blossoming, and grass that is ever green. On either side of 
us stands almost perpendicular cliifs, to the height of thirty-five 
hundred feet ; and on whose rugged faces, or in their uneven tops 

From a Photograph l>y C. L. Weed 



and sides, here and there a stunted pine struggles to live, and 
every crag seems crowned with some shrub or tree. The bright 
sheen of the river occasionally glistens from among the dense 
foliage of several long vistas that continually open before us. 
At every step, some new picture of great beauty presents itself, 
and some new shapes and shadows from trees and mountains 
form new combinations of light and shade, in this great kaleido- 
scope of nature. 

Shortly after passing Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah, on our left, we come 
in sight of three points which the Indians know as u Pom-p 
pa-sus" mountains playing leap-frog, but which some lacks 
cal person has given the common-place name of " The Three 
Brothers,' 1 beyond which we get the first glimpse of the upper 
part of the Yo-Semite waterfall. 

Perhaps we ought previously to have mentioned, that the first 
water-fall of any magnitude which strikes our attention on en- 
tering the valley and, indeed, on several occasions before reach- 
ing the bottom land of the valley is the "Pohono" (Indian 

From a Photograph "by C. L. Weed. 



name), or " Bridal Veil " Fall, and which we shall more fully de- 
scribe when we take a near view of it. 

Surrounded by such scenes of loveliness and sublimity, we feel 
a reluctance to break the 
charm they throw upon us 
by any speech ; when some 
one is almost sure to cry out 
" The Ferry." Here the 
river is about sixty feet 
wide, and twelve feet deep 
across which we can be 
speedily conveyed on a good 
boat, at the rate of thirty- 
seven and a-half cents per 
head for men, women, and 

By consulting the accom- 
panying outline map of the 
valley and its surroundings, 
it will readily be seen that 
a little detour to the left 
will enable us to avoid the 
delay and expense of the 
ferry. By taking the trail 
indicated, we cross " The 
Point of Rocks ; " from 
whence some charming 
scenes are obtained, and are 
on the direct course for 
Hutchings' Bridge, the only 
one in the valley, which 
spans the Merced River just 
opposite his house, and is 
entirely free to the public. 

As we ride along, the " Yo- Semite Fall," the " North Dome," 
' Royal Arches," < Washington Tower," " Clouds Rest," " South 


Dome," " Sentinel," and other grand points of interest, now seen 
only at a distance, impressively suggest the treat in store for us 
when we obtain a closer personal interview with their matchless 

Now, notwithstanding the many objects of interest we have 
passed, we venture, upon a guess, that one thought has frequently 
intruded itself upon our notice, it is this u Shall we ever come 
up to that mountain ?" and the length of time consumed -in the 
attempt especially if the unaccustomed ride has brought with it 
a corresponding amount of fatigue would seem to give back the 
nonchalant and unfeeling answer, *' Never ! " There is, however, 
no greater proof of the unrealized altitudes of these mountain-sides 
than this the time it takes to reach or pass them. 

But amidst all these we can hear one ejaculation that seems to 
contain more real satisfaction in it than any amount of sight-see- 
ing just now. It is this one : u Thank goodness. Here's the Yo- 
Semite Hotel. Here's Hutchings' ! " and commending ourselves 
to its most generous hospitalities for we need them we will dis- 
mount in the hope that a refreshing glass of pure California wine 
(or something stronger, if we prefer it, as none but excellent 
liquors are considered by the landlord to be worth packing in) a 
good wash, and an acceptable dinner await us. 


After the fatigue and excitement of the ride, and the novel cir- 
cumstances of the past few nights, it is natural to suppose that 
with a comfortable bed will come refreshing slumbers ; yet experi- 
ence may prove that, weary as we are, it seems such a luxury to 
lie awake and listen to the splashing, washing, roaring, surging, 
hissing, seething sound of the great Yo-Semite Falls, just opposite : 
or to pass quietly out of our resting-place, and look up between the 
lofty pines and spreading oaks to the granite cliffs that tower up 
with such majesty of form and boldness of outline against the vast 
ethereal vault of heaven ; or watch, in the moonlight, the ever- 
changing shapes and shadows of the water, as it leaps the cloud- 
draped summit of the mountain, and falls in gusty torrents on the 


unyielding granite, to be dashed to an infinity of atoms. Then to 
return to our welcome couch and dream of some tutelary genius, 
of immense proportions, extending over us his protecting arms 
of his admonishing the waterfall to modulate the music of its 
voice, that we may sleep and be refreshed. 


Some time before the sun can get a good, honest look at us, 
deep down as we are in this awful chasm, we see him painting 
his rosy smiles upon the ridges, and etching lights and shadows in 
the furrows of the mountain's brow, as though he took a pride 
in showing up, to the best advantage, the wrinkles time had made 
upon it ; but all of us feel too fatigued fully to enjoy the thrilling 
grandeur and beauty that surrounds us. 

But little laborious effort being desired on the first day after 
arrival, it will be well to rest long and breakfast late. The morn- 
ing can be devoted to scenes that are near the hotel, and there are 

O ' 

enough to employ and charm us. Fortified by a morning of quiet 
and a substantial lunch, let us in the afternoon pay a visit to 


Crossing the bridge over the main stream, which is here about 
eighty feet in width and five in depth,' we keep down the northern 
bank of the river for a short distance, to avoid a large portion of the 
valley in front of the hotel, that is probably overflowed with water. 

Presently we reach one of the most beautifully picturesque 
scenes that eye ever saw. It is the ford. The oak, dogwood 
maple, cotton wood, arid other trees, form an arcade of great beautj 
over the sparkling, rippling, pebbly stream, and, in the back- 
ground, the lower fall of the Yo-Semire is dropping its sheet of 
snowy sheen behind a dark middle distance of pines and firs. 

As the snow rapidly melts beneath the fiery strength of a hot 
summer sun, a large body of water, most probably, is rushing 
past, forming several small streams which, being comparatively 
shallow, are easily forded. When within about a hundred and 
fifty yards of the fall, as numerous large boulders begin to inter- 



From a Photograph ly C. L. Weed. 

cept our progress, we may as well dismount, and, after fastening 
our animals to some young trees, make our way up to it on foot. 

Now a change of temperature soon becomes perceptible, as we 
advance; and the almost oppressive heat of the centre of the 
valley is gradually changing to that of chilliness. But up, up, we 
climb, over this rock, and past that tree, until we reach the foot, 
or as near as we can advance to it, of the great Yo-Semite Fall, 
when a cold draught of air rushes down upon us from above, 
about equal in strength to an eight knot breeze ; bringing with it 
a heavy shower of finely comminuted spray, that falls with suf- 
ficient force to saturate our clothing in a few moments. From 

ft Phntnnrnnh i,ii C!. L. 


this a beautiful phenomenon is observable inasmuch as, after 
striking our hats, the diamond-like mist shoots off at an angle of 
about thirty-five or forty degrees, and as the sun shines upon it, a 
number of miniature rainbows are formed all round us. 

Those who have never visited this spot, must not suppose that 
the cloud-like spray that descends upon us is the main fall itself, 
broken into infinitesimal particles, and becoming nothing but a 
; sheet of cloud. By no means ; for, although this stream shoots 
over the margin of the mountain, nearly seven hundred feet 
above, it falls almost in a solid body not in a continuous stream 
exactly, but having a close resemblance to an avalanche of snowy 
rockets that appear to be perpetually trying to overtake each 
other in their descent, and mingle the one into the other; the whole 
composing a torrent of indescribable power and beauty. 

Huge boulders, and large masses of sharp, angular rocks, are 
scattered here and there, forming the uneven sides of an immense, 
and apparently ever-boiling cauldron ; around, and in the inter- 
stices of which, numerous dwarf ferns, weeds, grasses, and flowers, 
are ever growing, where not actually washed by the falling 

It is beyond the power of language to describe the awe-inspir- 
ing majesty of the darkly-frowning and overhanging mountain 
walls of solid granite that here hem us in on every side, as though 
they would threaten us with instantaneous destruction, if not total 
annihilation, did we attempt for a moment to deny their power. 
If man ever feels his utter insignificance at any time, it is when 
looking upon such a scene of appalling grandeur as the one here 

The point from whence the photograph was taken from which 
our engraving is made being almost underneath the fall might 
lead to the supposition that the lower section, which embraces 
more than two-thirds of the picture, was the highest of the two 
seen ; when, in fact, the lower one, according to the measure- 
ments of Mr. Denman, superintendent of Public Schools in San 
Francisco ; of Mr. Peterson, the engineer of the Mariposa and 
Yo-Semite Water Company ; and of Mr. Long, county surveyor, 


is about seven hundred feet above the level of the valley, while 
the upper fall is about one thousand four hundred and forty- 
eight feet, and between the two, measuring about four hundred 
feet, is a series of rapids rather than a fall, giving the total height 
of the entire fall at two thousand five hundred and forty-eight 

After lingering here for several hours, with inexpressible feel- 
ings of suppressed astonishment and delight, qualified and in- 
tensified by veneration, we may take a long and reluctant last 
upward gaze, convinced that we shall "never look upon its like 
again," until we pay it another visit at some future time ; and, 
making ,the best of our way to where our horses are tied, return to 
the hotel. 



After a substantial breakfast, made palatable by that best of all 
sauces, a good appetite, our guide announces that the horses are 
ready. As much of the beauty of the lake consists in the reflection 
of its glorious surroundings mountains four thousand to between 
five and six thousand feet in height it is desirable that a 
reasonably early start should be obtained. Sometimes the un- 
broken calm of its glassy bosom is not disturbed before twelve 
o'clock M. At other times the breeze has broken it up by ten 
o'clock A. M. But generally the mirror is perfect until nearly 
noon. On account of the early time desirable for setting out on 
this trip, it is better to postpone it until the second day, as a pre- 
mature departure from our couch on the first morning, will 
generally bring on premature fatigue, and a consequent decrease 
in the amount of our enjoyment. The distance is only three miles, 
and we can ride all the way on horseback. 

*Prof. J. D. Whitney makes the height of this fall to be from 2,537 to 2,641 feet. 
First fall 1,500 Second 626 and Third 400. A notice we saw upon a stump, placed 
there by the State Geological Survey, in 1863, gave its total height above the valley as 
2,634 feet. That we think should be the preferred measurement. 


Leaving the hotel, \ve cross the bridge and thread our way 
through the far-stretching vistas of luxuriant green that open 
before us ; the bright sunlight and somber shadows ever winking 
and twinkling upon the sparkling and gurgling streams that 
cross our trail, until we emerge on a grassy and flower- 
covered plateau on the north side of the valley, near the base of ' 
the great North Dome, called by the Indians u >To-coy-ae." This 
mountain of naked granite, with scarcely a treo or shrub growing 
from a single crevice, towers above you to the height of three 
thousand seven hundred and twenty-five feet. Its sides are nearly 
perpendicular for more than two thousand feet, and in which a 
colossal arch is formed, doubtless from the falling of several 
sections of the rock. This has been designated the " Royal Arch 
of To-coy-se." This, we believe, has never been measured ; but 
we should judge its altitude, from the valley to the crown of the 
arch, to be about one thousand seven hundred feet, and its 
span about two thousand feet ; its depth in, from the face of the 
rock, is about eighty or ninety feet. 

On our way up we pass the winter-quarters of Mr. Lamon on 
our left, and about half a mile above his cabin we can see his 
garden and orchard on our right. Between the two are several 
brushy structures in the Indian style of architecture, built by the 
Mono Indians for the purpose of storing acorns during the winter, 
in order to give them a supply of that (to them) useful edible during 
summer. Piilons, or pine nuts, and acorns are their staple articles 
of diet. When the supply of pinons fail, acorns are generally 
abundant, and the Indians visit Yo Semite during fall, in strings 
of from forty to fifty, for the purpose of packing acorns over the 
sierras to Mono for their winter supply. This is generally done 
by the women ! They peel and dry them before packing. When 
wanted for use they are ground by being pounded on a rock. 
The tannin is then taken out by means of warm water ; and after 
boiling it with hot stones dropped into water-tight baskets it re- 
sembles mush and is eaten with the fingers. There is one feature 
here that should not be overlooked, and that is the small streams of 
water that leap down over the granite walls, like falling strings of 



pearls and diamonds. These add much, in early spring, to the 
attractiveness of the scene. 

Having crossed the plateau, we ride over some rocky hillocks, 
and among a park-like array of oak trees, until we arrive at Lake 
Ah-wi-yah, so named and known by the Indians, but which has 


been newly christened by American visitors " Lake Hiawatha," 
" Mirror Lake," and several others, which, though pretty enough, 
are equally common-place and unsuitable. But of this we shall 
have something to say in another place. 

This lake, although a charming little sheet of crystal water of 
almost a couple of acres in extent, in which numerous schools of 
speckled trout may be seen gaily disporting themselves, would 
be unworthy of a notice, but for the picturesque grandeur of its 
surroundings. On the north and west lie immense rocks that 
have become detached from the tops of the mountain above ; 


among these grow a large variety of trees and shrubs, many of 
which stand on and overhang the margin of the lake, and are 
reflected on its mirror-like bosom. To the north-east opens a vast 
gorge or canon, down which impetuously rush the waters of the 
north fork of the Merced, which debouches into and supplies the 

On the south-east stands the majestic Mount Tis-sa-ack, or 
" South Dome," four thousand five hundred and ninety-three feet 
4n altitude above the valley. Almost one-half of this immense 
mass, either from some convulsion of nature, or 

" Time's effacing fingers," 

has fallen over, by which, most probably, the dam for this lake 
was first formed. Yet proudly, aye, defiantly erect, it still holds 
its noble head, and is not only the highest of all those around, 
but is the greatest attraction of the valley. Moreover, in this 
are centred many agreeable associations to the Indian mind ; as 
here was once the traditionary home of the guardian spirit of 
the valley, the angel-like and beautiful Tis-sa-ack, after whom 
her devoted Indian worshippers named this gloriously majestic 
mountain. "While we sit in the shade of these fine old trees, and 
look upon all the objects around us, mirrored on the unruffled 
bosom of the lake, let us relate the following interesting legend 
of Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah, after whom the vast perpendicular and 
massive projecting rock at the lower end of the valley was 
named, and with which is interwoven this history of Tis-sa-ack. 

This legend was told in an eastern journal, by a gentleman 
residing here, who signs himself " Iota," and who received it from 
the lips of an old Indian ; the relation of which, although several 
points of interest are omitted, will, nevertheless, prove very 
entertaining : 


" It was in the unremembered past that the children of the sun 
first dwelt in Yo-Semite. Then all was happiness ; for Tu-tock-ah- 
nu-lah sat on high in his rocky home, and cared for the people 


whom he loved. Leaping over the upper plains, he herded the 
wild deer, that the people might choose the fattest for the feast. 
He roused the bear from his cavern in the mountain, that the 
brave might hunt. From his lofty rock he prayed to the Great 
Spirit, and brought the soft rain upon the corn in the valley. 
The smoke of his pipe curled into the air, and the golden sun 
breathed warmly through its blue haze, and ripened the crops, 
that the women might gather them in. When he laughed, 'the 
face of the winding river was rippled with smiles ; when he, 
sighed, the wind swept sadly through the singing pines ; if he 
spoke, the sound was like the deep voice of the cataract ; and 
when he smote the far-striding bear, his whoop of triumph rang 
from .crag to gorge echoed from mountain to mountain. His 
form was straight like the arrow, and elastic like the bow. His 
foot was swifter than the red deer, and his eye was strong and 
bright like the rising sun. 

" But one morning, as he roamed, a bright vision came before 
him, and then the soft colors of the West were in his lustrous 
eye. A maiden sat upon the southern granite dome that raises its 
gray head among the highest peaks. She was not like the dark 
maidens of the tribe below, for the yellow hair rolled over her 
dazzling form, as golden waters over silver rocks ; her brow 
beamed with the pale beauty of the moonlight, and her blue eyes 
were as the far-off hills before the sun goes down. Her little 
foot shone like the snow-tufts on the wintry pines 7 and its arch 
was like the spring of a bow. Two cloud-like wings wavered 
upon her dimpled shoulders, and her voice was as the sweet, sad 
tone of the night-bird of the woods. 

u < Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah,' she softly whispered ; then gliding up the 
rocky dome, she vanished over its rounded top. Keen was the 
eye, quick was the ear, swift was the foot of the noble youth as 
he sped up the rugged path in pursuit ; but the soft down from 
her snowy wings was wafted into his eyes, and he saw her no 

" Every morning now did the enamored Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah leap 
the stony barriers, and wander over the mountains, to meet the 


lovely Tis-sa-ack. Each day he laid sweet acorns and wild flowers 
upon her dome. His ear caught her footstep, though it was light 
as the falling leaf ; his eye gazed upon her beautiful form, and 
into her gentle eyes ; but never did he speak before her, and 
never again did her sweet-toned voice fall upon his ear. Thus 
did he love the fair maid, and so strong was his thought of her 
that he forgot the crops of Yo-Semite, and they, without rain, 
wanting his tender care, quickly drooped their heads, and shrunk. 
The wind whistled mournfully through the wild corn, the wild 
bee stored no more honey in the hollow tree, for the flowers had 
lost their freshness, and the green leaves became brown. Tu-tock- 
ah-nu-lah saw none of this, for his eyes were dazzled by the shin- 
ing wings of the maiden. But Tis-sa-ack looked with sorrowing 
eyes over the neglected valley, when early in the morning she 
stood upon the gray dome of the mountain ; so, kneeling on the 
smooth, hard rock, the maiden besought the Great Spirit to bring 
again the bright flowers and delicate grasses, green trees, and 
nodding acorns. 

"Then, with an awful sound, the dome of granite opened 
beneath her feet, and the mountain was riven asunder, while the 
melting snows from the Nevada gushed through the wonderful 
gorge. Quickly they formed a lake between the perpendicular 
walls of the cleft mountain, and sent a sweet murmuring river 
through the valley. All then was changed. The birds dashed 
their little bodies into the pretty pools among the grasses, and 
fluttering out again, sang for delight ; the moisture crept silently 
through the parched soil ; the flowers sent up a fragrant incense 
of thanks ; the corn gracefully raised its drooping head ; and the 
sap, with velvet footfall, ran up into the trees, giving life and 
energy to all. But the maid, for whom the valley had suffered, 
and through whom it had been again clothed with beauty, had 
disappeared as strangely as she came. Yet, that all might hold 
her memory in their hearts, she left the quiet lake, the winding 
river, and yonder half-dome, which still bears her name, ' Tis-sa- 
ack? It is said to be four thousand five hundred feet high, and 
every evening it catches the last rosy rays that are reflected from 


the snowy peaks above. As she flew away, small downy feathers 
were wafted from her wings, and where they fell on the margin 
of the lake you will now see thousands of little white violets. 

" When Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah knew that she was gone, he left his 
rocky castle and wandered away in search of his lost love. But 
that the Yo-Semites might never forget him, with the hunting- 
knife in his bold hand, he carved the outlines of his noble head 
upon the face of the rock that bears his name. And there they 
still remain, three thousand feet in the air, guarding the entrance 
to the beautiful valley which had received his loving care 

If a precautionary provision was not made in the morning for 
our noon repast, by this time an admonishing voice from the organs 
of digestion will be seductively suggestive of an early departure 
for the hotel. On our way we should by no means deny ourselves 
the gratification of a visit to Lamon's Garden. For in addition 
to its excellent cultivation, the variety and abundance of fine and 
delicious fruits, it will be an acceptable intrusion upon the 
owner's bachelor solitude to see so many cheery faces within it. 
Much of his pleasure consists in showing it to appreciative visitors, 
and the charge is merely nominal, only twenty-five cents each for 
all the fruit we can eat. He has two orchards of over five hun-j 
dred fruit-trees in each. One winter he lived in Yo-Semite en- 
tirely alone, locked in by the snowy ridges and was some twenty- 
five miles from his nearest neighbor. 

Our lunch snugly disposed of, succeeded by a good rest, let us 
take a delightful ride of four miles, and pay an afternoon's visit to 


Visitors generally prefer paying a visit to the Pohono Fall, 
before undertaking those of greater difficulty at the upper end of 
the valley, that they may become somewhat better rested from 
the fatigue of the journey. Let us, therefore, not be out of the 
fashion, but take a quiet ride down the south side of the valley at 
once ; and the first point of striking interest we shall notice on 
our left will be Sentinel Eock, a lofty and solitary peak, upon 
which the watch-fires of the Indians have often been lighted to 



give warning of approaching danger ; and which can readily be 
seen from all the principal points within and around the valley. 

Further on, we see a singular group of peaks, that will resemble 
almost any thing we can conjure up, according to the time of day 
we may be passing, as every change in the position of the sun will 
give a new set of shadows ; but that which it most resembles, is 
the dilapidated front of some grand old cathedral, with towers 
and buttresses ; and, in one place, a circle that a strong imagina- 
tion can make into a clock, which will indicate the time of day to 
a moment ! 

This passed, we come in front of the Pohono Fall. After 
threading our way among trees and bushes, over rocks and water- 
courses, it becomes necessary that we should dismount, and tie 


our animals, as the remaining distance is over a rough ascent of 
rocks, which will have to be accomplished on foot. As this is 
short, we shall thread our way among bushes and boulders, with- 
out much difficulty, until the heavy spray from the fall saturates 
our clothing, and the velvety softness of the moist grasses growing 
upon the little ridge we have climbed, reminds us that the goal of 
our desire is reached. 

It is impossible to portray the feeling of awe, wonder, and ad- 
miration almost amounting to adoration that thrills our very 
souls as we look upon this enchanting scene. The gracefully un- 
dulating and wavy sheets of spray, that fall in gauze-like and 
ethereal folds ; now expanding, now contracting ; now glittering 
in the sunlight, like a veil of diamonds ; now changing into one 
vast and many-colored cloud, that throws its misty drapery over 
the falling torrent, as if in very modesty, to veil its unspeakable 
beauty from our too eagerly admiring sight. 

In order to see this to the best advantage, the eye should take 
in only the foot of the fall at first ; then a short section upward ; 
then higher, until, by degrees, the top is reached. In this way the 
majesty of the waterfall is more fully realized and appreciated. 

The stream itself about forty feet in width resembles an 
avalanche of watery rockets, that shoots out over the precipice 
above you, at the height of nearly nine hundred feet, and then leaps 
down, in one unbroken train, to the immense cauldron of boulders 
beneath, where it surges and boils in its angry fury, throwing up 
large volumes of spray, over which the sun forms two or more 
magnificent rainbows which arch the abyss. 

Like most other tributaries of the main middle fork of the Mer- 
ced, this stream falls very low toward the close of the summer, 
but is seldom, if ever, entirely dry. When we visited the valley 
in July, 1855, this branch did not contain more than one-tenth 
the water usually seen in the month of May or June. 

The river has its origin in a lake at the foot of a bold, crescent- 
shaped, perpendicular rock, about thirteen miles above the edge 
of the Pohono Fall. On this lake a strong wind is said to be con- 
tinually blowing; and, as several Indians have lost their lives 


there and in the stream, their exceedingly acute and superstitious 
imaginations have made it bewitched. 

An Indian woman was out gathering seeds, a short distance 
above these falls, when, by some mishap, she lost her balance and 
fell into the stream, and the force of the current carried her 
down with such velocity, that before any assistance could be 
rendered, she was swept over the precipice, and was never seen 

1 rt Pohono," from whom the stream and the waterfall received 

' their musical Indian name, is an evil spirit, whose breath is a 
blighting and fatal wind, and, consequently, is to be dreaded and 
shunned. On this account, whenever, from necessity, the Indians 
have to pass it, a feeling of distress steals over them, and they fear 
it as much as the wandering Arab does the simooms of the African 
desert ; they hurry past it at the height of their speed. To point 
at the waterfall, when travelling in the valley, to their minds, is 
certain death. 'No inducement could be offered sufficiently large 
to tempt them to sleep near it. In fact, they believe that they 
hear the voices of those that have been drowned there, perpet- 
ually warning them to shun " Pohono." 

How much more desirable is it to perpetuate these expressive 
Indian names many of which embody the superstitious and 
highly imaginative characteristics of the Indian mind than to 
give them Anglicized ones, be they ever so pretty. We think the 
name of " Bridal Veil Fall" is not only by far the most musical 
and suitable of any or of all others yet given, but is the only one 
that is worthy of the object named ; and yet, we confess that we 
should much prefer the beautiful and expressive Indian name of 
"Pohono," to that of " Bridal Veil." 

The vertical, and, at some points, overhanging mountains on 
either side of the Pohono, possess quite as much interest as the fall 
itself, and add much to the grandeur and magnificence of the 
whole scene. A tower-shaped rock, about three thousand feet in 
height, standing at the south-west side of the fall, and nearly op- 
posite " Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah," has on its top a number of projecting 
rocks that very much resemble canon. In order to assist in per- 




From a Photograph ~by C. L. Weed. 

petuating the beautiful legend before given concerning that Indian 
semi-deity, we shall take the liberty of christening this point Tu- 
tock-ah-nu-lah's Citadel. 

Other wild and weird-like points of equal interest stand before 
iiSjOn the summit and among the niches of every cliff; so that it 
is not this or that particular rock that attracts, so much as the 
infinite variety, all of which are so distinctly different. 

As the line of shadow is rapidly climbing the mountain, we 
had better retrace our steps to the hotel. 


As we sit in the stillness and twilight of evening, thinking 
over and conversing about the wondrous scenes our eves have 
looked upon this day ; or listen, in silence, to the deep music of 
the distant waterfalls, our hearts seem full to overflowing with a 
sense of the grandeur, wildness, beauty, and profoundness to be 
felt and enjoyed when communing with the glorious works of 
nature, which call to mind those expressive lines of Moore : 

" The earth shall be my fragrant shrine I 
My temple, Lord ! that arch of thine ; 
My censer's breath, the mountain airs; 
And silent thoughts, my only prayers." 


By this time it is to be hoped that all of our party have been 
sufficiently toughened by exercise and rest to endure the fatigue 
of the trip we are about to take. Fortified with a substantial 
lunch and other etceteras, let us now set out for 


It is always well to start as early as we conveniently can, with- 
out hurrying ourselves too much, as by this course we obtain 
many advantages that need not now be enumerated; therefore, as 
soon as the sun has begun to wink at us from among the pine- 
trees on the mountain-tops, we may as well start on our visit to 
the Pi-wy-ack, or Vernal, and the Yo-wi-ye or Nevada, falls. 

At first, we pass round the granite points that extend into the 
level meadow land, just above the hotel ; then, as we advance, 
the valley gradually widens, and, with the oak-trees growing at 
irregular intervals of distance, reminds us of the beautiful parks 
of Europe, especially those of England and France. 

On our right is a high wall of granite, nearly perpendicular, 
to the height of three thousand seven hundred and forty feet- 
down which several small, silvery, ribbon-like streams are leaping. 
Here and there, from the sides of this vast mountain, a single tree 
or shrub is standing alone. Surmounting one of the lower points 
of rock, several rugged peaks unite, and resemble an immense 



hospice, which has, not inappropriately, been named Mount St. 
Bernard. Another has a distant kinship, in form at least, with 
a bear. Another, a huge head. In fact, you can look at the 
various parts of the mountain, and trace a resemblance to a hun- 


From a Photograph by C. L. Weed. 

dred different objects ; and as the shadows change, when the day 
advances, to as many more. On our left stand the Royal Arches, 
Washington Tower, North and South Domes, and other objects 
of absorbing interest. Numerous majestic trees overshadow the 


way, such as the yellow pine (Pinus ponderosd), the cedar (Libo- 
cedrus decurrens), the black oak (Quercus sonomensis), with 
here and there a Douglas spruce (Abies Douglasii), and an 
occasional dogwood or two. By the streams can be found the 
balm of Gilead (Populous balsamifera) and the alder (Alnus 
virinis) in considerable abundance. On the debris piles large 
numbers of the live oak (Quercus chrysolepis) and maples (Acer 
macrophyllum) are found. Shrubs of various kinds are abun- 
dant, among the most beautiful and most fragrant stands the 
white azalea (Azalea occidentalis) ; then comes the pungent- 
flavored and aromatic laurel (Tetr anther a Calif or nica), the 
latter is occasionally seen six inches in diameter, and could be 
classed among trees, and many others. Flowers of many kinds 
are abundant, such as the yellow and purple evening primroses, 
larkspur (CEnotliera\ and also a very pretty pink everlasting 
-(Spraguea). But to give a complete list of flowers would fill a 

About two miles above Hutchings' we arrive at, and continue 
up, the southern bank of the Merced, beneath a bower of trees 
and shrubs, over the roughest and rockiest portion of the trail. 
Formerly visitors used to tie their horses here, and make the 
ascent on foot, but some recent improvements now induce visitors 
to ride nearly up to the Vernal Fall. On our left the river forms 
a foaming cataract to the very foot of the fall, and the thundering 
boom of its waters rises at times above the sound of human 

Presently we arrive at a stream of very respectable size, which, 
having made the leap of the Tu-lool-we-ack Fall, about a mile and 
half above, has hurried down the " South Canon," and now runs 
directly across our path. If the water is not too high we can ford 
it with safety ; but if it is, it will be inexpedient to attempt it. In 
the latter event we will here tie our horses, and crossing a log- 
formed bridge, make the remainder of the ascent on foot. 

Upward and onward we climb ; and, after passing a bold point, 
and reading some of the names inscribed on Register Rock, we 
obtain, suddenly, the first sight of the Pi-wy-ack, or Yernal 



Fall. While gazing 
its beauties, let ns, now 
,and forever, earnestly 
protest against the per- 
petuation of any other no- 
menclature to this won- 
der, than "Pi-wy-ack," 
the name which is given 
to it by the Indians, 
which means " a shower 
of sparkling crystals," 
while "Venial" could, 
with much more appro- 
priateness, be bestowed 
upon the name-giver, as 
the fall itself is one vast 
sheet of sparkling brightness and snowy whiteness, in which 
there is not the slightest approximation, even in the tint, to any 
thing " vernal." 

Still ascending and advancing, we are soon enveloped in a 
sheet of heavy spray, driven down upon us with such force as to 
resemble a heavy storm of comminuted rain. Now, many might 
suppose that this would be annoying, but it is not, although the 
only really unpleasant part of the trip is that which we have here 
to take, on a steep hill-side, and through a wet, alluvial soil, from 
which, at every footstep, the water spirts out, much to the incon- 
venience and discomfort of ladies especially of those who wear 





long dresses. As the distance through this is but short, it is soon 
accomplished, and in a few minutes we stand at the foot of " The 

Ladders." Beneath 
a large, overhanging 
rock at our right, is 
a man who takes toll 
for ascending the lad- 
ders, eats, and " turns 
in " to sleep, upon the 
rock. The charge for 
ascending and descend- 
ing is seventy-five, 
cents; and as this in- 
cludes the trail as well 
as the ladders, the 
charge is very reason- 

Formerly there were 
no means of ascending 
or descending this per- 
pendicular wall of rock, 
except with ropes fas- 
tened to an oak-tree 
that grows in one of 
the interstices; and 
that, too, at great per- 
sonal risk and incon- 
venience so that but 
few persons would make the dangerous attempt. 

By the measurements of different gentlemen whose figures ap- 
proximate, the height of this fall is given at three hundred and 
fifty feet Prof. J. D. Whitney says : " Our measurements give, 
all the way, from 315 to 475 feet." But as the professor ascribes 
the difference to the height of the water, at the various seasons, 
instead of, as we think, to the difference (160 feet) in the calcula- 
tions, we regret our inability to concur in his conclusions. 






Ascending the ladders, we reach an elevated plateau of rock, on 
the edge of which, and about breast high, is a natural wall of 
granite, that seems to have been constructed by nature for the 
especial benefit and convenience of people with weak nerves, en- 
abling them to lean upon it, and look down over the precipice 
into the deep chasm below. 

The waters of the river, which rush through a narrow gorge 
above, with great speed and power, here spread out to the width 
of about sixty-five feet, before shooting over the edge of the fall. 


Advancing gently and pleasantly, we arrive at the gorge, before 
alluded to, and as several large pieces of burnt timber are proba- 
bly lying near, if we roll them in upon the angry bosom of the 


hurrying current, we shall find that they are tossed about, and 
borne along as though they were waifs. After working our way 
over a low point of rocks, we come in sight of the Yo-wi-ye Fall, 
the greatest, yet not the highest fall, in or near the Yo-Semite 

From a Photograph by C. L. Weed. 


Valley, several different measurements making it about seven 
hundred feet in height. 

When the base of this fall is reached, or as nearly so as the 
eddying clouds of spray will permit, it appears to be different in 
shape to either of the others ; for, although it shoots over the 
precipice in a curve, and descends almost perpendicularly for 
four-fifths of the distance, it then strikes the smooth surface of 
the mountain, and spreads and forms a beautiful sheet of silvery 
whiteness, about one hundred and thirty feet in width. 

This point is about as far as visitors generally go, although some 
more enthusiastic spirits work their way by the side of the smooth 
mountain wall that here prevents further progress, without con- 
siderable toil and difficulty to the top of the fall; and as we 
expect the courteous reader is of the latter class, we will, with his 
consent, make one of the party to see what we can find. 

By the enterprise of the commissioners, who have constructed a 
rustic bridge over the gorge below, we are enabled to make the 
ascent to the wondrous scenes above by an easier and safer route. 
Let us, therefore, retrace our steps to the bridge ; and, standing on 
its center, look for a moment into the angry stream. If the sun is 
brilliantly shining, the rushing waters above the bridge will be 
transformed below into a cascade of diamonds. As those gems 
are, unmistakably, of the u purest w r ater," there would seem to be 
a reckless disregard for the danger " from chipping," to be appre- 
hended from this method of transportation. But as all the chips 
seem to be carefully gathered and re-run, let us not linger here, 
but attempt 


This is the name given to the striking mass of almost perpendic- 
ular rock that stands boldly out at the north side of the Nevada 
Fall. Its altitude above the foot of the fall is estimated at about 
two thousand feet. The singularity and majesty of its presence 
are impressed upon every beholder. Numerous aspirants, or their 
friends, have attempted to attach individual names to it, such as 
" Mount Francis," " Mount Gwin," "Bellows Butte," " Mount 


Broderick," and others ; but these names, however highly thought 
of in the circles among which their owners lived, have not been 
respected in connection with this magnificent formation. 

The best route for us to take in order to reach its lofty summit, 
w r ill be on its western side. Avoiding the mouth of the precipi- 
tous ravine up which our course runs, let us strike across the first 
mountain bench, and, threading our way among bushes, make for 
and keep up the ravine named, until we reach a grassy meadow 
at its head. Then it will be readily seen there is but one way by 
which the top of the " Cap " can be gained. That followed, let 
us suppose ourselves standing upon its grand old crown. 

Here our first attention will be called to a group of large juniper- 
trees (Juniper occidentalis), two of which are ten feet each in 
diameter. There are also a few stunted Douglas spruce trees, and 
several dwarf shrubs belonging to some variety of oak with which 
we are unacquainted. How they find sustenance, or even foot- 
hold, on such an apparently barren mass of naked granite is a mys- 
tery to us. Down, deep down, in the little Yo-Semite Valley, 
meanders the Merced. The tall pines, everywhere abundant, 
appearing about the size of ordinary walking-canes. But, if we 
have courage, let us go to its southeastern corner, and holding 
firmly to the rock, look down the almost vertical precipice upon 
the Nevada Fall. All will confess that this sight alone repays 
us. So that the Yo-Semite Fall, the Sentinel Dome, Mount Starr 
King, and above all, the apparently omnipresent South Dome, 
with numerous other wonderful mountains, are all thrown into the 
bargain. Descending to the meadow land at the back of the Cap, 
let us take a hasty glance at the little Yo-Semite Yalley and 


Our course now lies up and across the numerous spurs that hem 
in, or rather that almost monopolize and form the so-called valley, 
with the exception, perhaps, of from a third to a half mile on the 
sides of the stream. Numerous clumps of fir-trees and pines stand 
here and there ; some on the banks of the river, and some in moist 
pVes, that, during a short season of the year, are shallow lakes. 


Numerous grouse and mountain quail whirr past us simply, as 
we think, perhaps, to torment us, as on this occasion most likely 
we have no gun, knowing that at other times when we had, we 
found no use for one. By the side of every little hillock, espe- 
cially at the bottom of the spurs, there are deer trails, deeply worn, 
and full of recent imprints of their feet; also those of the cinna- 
mon and grizzly bear. On the limited portions of alluvial soil, a 
thick growth of short, fine grass is growing, resembling the buffalo 
grass of the plains. On the low ridges or spurs in the valley, 
there is also an abundance of tuft or bunch grass. 

The mountains on either side of this valley, are, if possible, 
more singular than those of the great Yo-Semite Valley, on account 
of the formation being distinctly different. For instance, a large 
and uneven, yet sugar-loaf shaped rock, at its eastern extremity, 
near another waterfall, has a wide belt of reddish, fine-grained 
granite near its base, and which extends from the one side to the 
other ; similar layers of rock continue, although of different kinds 
and colors, to the very summit of the rock, while that in the valley 
below is of gray granite almost exclusively. The waterfall at the 
head of this valley, and two and a half miles from the Yo-wi-ye, 
might more properly be denominated a cascade, as the main body 
of water forming the river rushes down an inclined plane of about 
150 feet in length, at an angle of about 3T P . The mountains on 
either side being lofty, rugged, pine-studded, and precipitous, add 
much to the grandeur as well as beauty of the scene. 

On reaching the top, near the edge of the fall, we find the rock 
very smooth and bare for many rods, with here and there a stunted 
tree, living on a short allowance of soil in a narrow crevice. At 
the back of this bare rock is a limited forest of pines and firs. 
Huge boulders and masses of granite lie scattered here and there. 
The river, for some distance above, forms a series of rapids. As 
a tree has lodged across the stream about a quarter of a mile from 
the fall, and the smooth rock to the eastward forms another bar- 
rier to our progress in that direction, let us cross to the edge of 
the Merced, and take one brief glance down into the gulf into 
which the Yo-wi-ye (Nevada) is leaping. 


Lying down upon a flat and solid rock, apparently formed - 
like the parapet at the head of the Pi-wy-ack (or Yernal) Fall 
for the purpose of enabling the beholder safely to see those won- 
derful sights, let us have one good look at the majesty and 
glory beneath us. The fall as it daringly leaps its rocky rim, 
soon strikes the unvertical wall, and apparently forms into an im- 
mense mass of wavy, lacy folds, composed from top to bottom of 
sparkling diamonds, now swaying to this side, now draping the 
other. The base as if to make the whole scene a miniature 
heaven, and, if possible, convey to man some faint idea of the 
outer footstool of the Almighty throne is spanned with rainbows; 
while the beautiful river hurries on heedlessly, the grand moun- 
tains around stand sentinel carelessly, and, as the mantle of night 
will soon embrace them in its sombre folds, and cover up and 
change it into u weird spirituality," unless we wish to take lodg- 
ings under its cold coverlet, let us up and be going. 


After the feast as well as the fatigues of yesterday as we have 
but one life perhaps it would be a good plan to rest to-day, and 
review and digest the scenes witnessed. But, if a majority think 
otherwise, let us to-day pay a visit to 


It will be remembered that, in riding up the uneven trail to 
the Yernal and Nevada falls, we crossed a stream of considerable 
volume, divided into two or three branches ; this came down the 
Tu-lool-w T e-ack,* or South Canon. About two miles above the 
crossing alluded to, up the rough bed of the stream, we come to 

* Prof. Whitney has given this fall and canon the name of " Illilouette, 1 ' Thinking, as 
this was a Yo-semite Indian name, that we might be in error in its proper pronunci- 
ation, we have carefully questioned the Indians concerning it ; and while every one, 
without exception, calls it Tu-lool-we-ack, the name of " Illilouette " is entirely unknown 
among them. The difference in the pronunciation of Indian names by Americans re- 
sults from the difficulty of catching and rendering the exact pronunciation of the 



another large fall, which, although but seldom seen, it will be 
well for us to visit. 

This crossing is about three miles above Hutchings', and is 
the usual place of leaving animals, at which point we leave the 
trail and soon find that, poor as it undoubtedly is, we are prepared 
to accord to it any amount of excellence, in comparison with the 
steep, boulder-filled, and trailless canon of the South Fork. 

Here we have to stoop or creep beneath low arches ; there we 
assist each other to climb a rock ; yonder a spur shoots out from the 
mountain to the very margin of the stream and forces us to cross it. 
At such places, fortunately, the few who have preceded us have 
bridged the river, by felling trees over it, thus enabling us to fol- 


From a Photograph by C. L. Weed. 



low in their footsteps with great advantage to ourselves. Minia- 
ture mountains of loose rocks seem to be piled on each other, still 
higher and higher as we advance. 

About a mile and a half above the confluence of the South with 
the Middle Fork, we emerge from a heavy growth of timber into 
an open and treeless chasm, the bed of which is covered with 
large angular rocks, bounded on either side with vertical walls of 
time-worn and rain-stained granite. On the uneven tops of these, 
a few of ths Douglass spruce-trees are struggling to weather the 
storms and live. From this point, we obtain a fine distant view, 
above the tops of the lofty pines, of the Great South Dome, and 
also of the Pi-wy-ack Fall. 

From a Photograph by C. L. Weed. 


About two o'clock P. M. (if we start early) we reach the head 
of the canon and the foot of the Tu-lool-we-ack Fall. This caiion 
here is suddenly terminated by an irregular, horse-shoe shaped 
end, the sides and circle of which, on the one side, are perpendic- 
ular, and on the other so much so as to be inaccessible without 
great danger of slipping, and consequently requiring great care. 

This waterfall is about five hundred and fifty feet in height, 
which, after shooting over the precipice, meets with no obstacle 
to break its descent, until it nearly reaches the basin into which 
it falls. It is a fine sheet of water, of about the same volume as 
the Yo-Semite (four hundred gallons per second), at the time we 
visited and measured it. As we had no instruments for ascertain- 
ing the altitude of the Tu-lool-we-ack, of course the above is only 
given as its approximate height. 

The engraving given of this, presents a side section only, as the 
distance across the caiion, opposite the fall, not being over one 
hundred and fifty yards, is altogether too short to allow the instru- 
ment to take in the whole front view on one picture. 

Our fatiguing ascent having occupied the greater portion of the 
day, and the sunshine having already departed from the west side 
of the caiion, and as we are not prepared to pass the night here, 
our work and return has to be conducted with brevity and dis- 
patch ; consequently, the moment we have satisfied our minds we 
had better commence the descent. On our way down, we secure 
another good view of Tis-sa-ack (the South Dome), from the south 
canon, and which, from this point, presents a singular conical 
shape of that mountain which is not to be seen from any other 
point; and arrive at our quarters at the hotel in safety just after 
dark, well pleased with the result of our difficult undertaking. 

While discussing the viands of our much relished evening's 
repast (for after such a jaunt our appetites will supply the most 
desirable of condiments), we venture to predict that before very 
long the rapidly increasing travel to Yo-Sernite will not only call 
for, but justify, the expenditure of considerable sums of money by 
the State, or some one else, in the making of trails to open up all 
such points of interest as this, so that they can be visited on 



horseback, and consequently with so much additional pleasure. 
Now, it requires a strong frame, well trained by exercise, to 
accomplish such fatiguing undertakings. Of the reward after 
success, even with the present labor, there will be no question. 


It is not for us to say how many days should be spent in Yo- 
Semitc. Nor, whether there should be alternating days of activity 
and quiet these must be determined by individual tastes and 
convenience. Experience has taught us that our capacity for 
enduring comfort (without complaining), united with an undying 
love for the beautiful, leads us occasionally to prefer luxuriating 
siestas, in the shadow of trees, day-dreaming and resting ; short 
strolls among picturesque " little bits " of landscape ; mental 
photograph taking of these unparalleled walls of granite ; trout 
fishing ; fruit gathering^ and all such agreeable methods (as the 
uncontrollably active, or the unappreciative mind would suggest) 
of "killing time." But if the majority say let us travel let us 


We immediately concur. It is especially desirable that those 
who have accompanied us thus far by Big Oak Flat, and who, 
from whatever cause, prefer returning the same way, should be 
with us on this trip. For if possibly we exclude the scene from 
" Glacial Point," or from the summit of the " Three Brothers," 
there is nothing in this world known to man that can equal the 
views from "Mount Beatitude" and "Inspiration Point." If, 
however, it has been determined to return via the Mariposa grove 
of big trees and Mariposa, and we emphatically hope that it has, 
inasmuch as all tourists who can, should arrive one way and 
depart the other, these glorious sights can be witnessed on the 
route homeward,. without an especial visit. 

On our ride down the valley, almost immediately opposite 
Pompompasus (the " Three Brothers "), on our left there is upon 
the face of the mountain a white irregular spot, from which, 


althougli of apparently insignificant size, the debris covered 
several acres. Back of this point, high up toward the top, Mr. E. 
J. Muybridge, in 1868, discovered a remarkable fissure in the wall 
rock. " It is," he says, " one thousand feet deep, five feet wide 
at the top and front, and gradually grjwing narrower as it goes 
down and back into the mountain. Several stones have fallen 
into it, and lodged about half way down." 

Near here can be seen some of the eifects of the great storm of 
Dec. 23, 1867j when the whole valley was a broad foaming river ; 
and rocks weighing many tons were hurled down these mountain 
torrents with terrible power : the talus when w ashed down filled 
up ravines, as you see, and buried the base of trees from two to 
twenty feet high. In the meadow opposite, within eleven acres of 
ground, there are forty-two large pine and cedar trees piled one upon 
the other. We have already counted one hundred and thirty-one 
of those noble tenants of the valley, that were prostrated by the 
one single storm ; enough, if cut into lumber, to construct all 
improvements wanted in the valley for many years. Others shot 
over the Yo-Semite Fall, and after making a surging swirl or two 
struck the unyielding granite, and broke into thousands of frag- 
mentary pieces. By evidences everywhere apparent there has 
been no storm to equal it during the present century. 

River views ; forest openings ; rocky points ; waterfalls ; indis- 
tinct animals, heads of men and women outlined in projection, or 
shadow, or water stain upon the vertical walls of granite, with 
numerous other objects to attract and interest, are all the way to 
the very foot of the mountain. Then comes the climb. Let us 
travel easily, and slowly, and while the horses breathe, we can 
catch glimpses and foretastes of our expected reward when the 
sroal of our desires is reached at the top. 

o - 1 - 

Up, up we climb, bench after bench, stretch after stretch, with 
fine views all the way, until at last, we arrive at the turning off 
place for u Mount Beatitude." Let us now tie our horses, and 
while they rest, walk out about one hundred and fifty yards to the 
wonderful sight. 

There is a truism that " Some things can be done as well as 


I I 1 

I I 




others." In our opinion a full description of this scene is not one 
of them. A passage in the good book says, " Eye hath not seen, 
neither hath ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of 
man to conceive what there is laid up in heaven for those who 
love and serve God." Now, without wishing to detract from the 
interesting inducement there so graphically pictured and offered, 
we simply wish to apply the language to those who have the good 
fortune to see Yo-Semite from this stand-point. Is that satisfac- 
tory ? We hope so, as we can only give a few plain facts and 
leave you to "do the sublime." 

Remember we are standing on a precipice of nearly three 
thousand feet. The whole valley and its surroundings are unrolled 
before us like a map. The river below is as a ribbon of silver, 
seen only at intervals, winding among the trees ; the trees resem- 
bling mere shrubs. The grand old sides, and proud head, of 
Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah loom grandly up. Ditto the " South Dome," 
and the " Clouds Best," and the " Sentinel Dome," and the 
" Sentinel," with any number of others. In the distance are many 
snow-covered peaks of the sierras, visible almost to their culmina- 
ting crest. In the foreground, on our left, is the " Ribbon Fall," 
three thousand three hundred feet above the valley ; on our right 
is the Poliono, or u Bridal Yeil Fall," nine hundred and forty 
feet. Above and back of that stands the " Three Graces," three 
thousand six hundred feet high. If the storm has been gathering, 
perhaps we can see it swoop down " on the wings of the wind," 
and drape the whole landscape in cloud. At times the entire 
valley is filled with them, piled layer above layer, stratum above 
stratum, to the very tops of the mountains, their edges sufficiently 
light to allow the granite walls to be dimly revealed. 

Inspiration Boint stands out and up at a somewhat greater 
altitude than Mount Beatitude, but although the view of the distant 
sierras is more comprehensive, that of the valley is more limited. 
The general characteristics of both being similar there is no neces- 
sity for any further remarks. Therefore let us enjoy the scene in 
peaceful reflection, and when we can say " enough," let us depart 
on our winding way, and dream of that we have seen. 





Those who walk past and look up at the great Yo-Semite 
Fall, as it shoots out over the precipice its four hundred gallons 
every second during the early melting of the snows above ; or 


watch the gauzy clouds that float below its summit, feel an in- 
definable longing to stand upon and look down from the top 
of the mountain walls that encompass this valley ; to examine 


the surrounding country above, and measure the width and depth of 
the Yo-Semite Creek below. Accordingly, let us repair to the foot of 
an almost inaccessible mountain gorge, named Indian Canon, situ- 
ated about a quarter of a mile to the east of the Yo-Semite Falls, 
and nearly opposite to the hotel, for the purpose of making the 
ascent. This, also, is a fatiguing and difficult task, that few have 
ever undertaken. 

In order the better to insure our success, we must start early in 
the morning. The day may prove to be very warm ; yet, after 
fairly entering the canon, the trees and shrubs that grow between 
the rocks, afford us a very grateful shelter, for a quarter of the 
distance up, when the almost vertical mountain side on our right 
throws its refreshing shadow across the ascent, for the greater por- 
tion of the remaining distance. 

Thus protected, we climb over, creep beneath, or walk around, 
the huge boulders that form the bed of the gorge ; and which, 
owing to their immense size, frequently compel us to make a de- 
tour in the sun to avoid them, and to seek as easy an ascent as pos- 
sible in the accomplishment of this, our excessively fatiguing task. 

A cascade of considerable volume is leaping over this, dashing 
past that, rushing between those, and gurgling among these rocks, 
affording us gratuitous music, and drink, as we climb. Large pine 
trees that fell across the canon, during the rapid melting of the 
snow, have been lifted up and tossed, like a skiff by an angry sea, 
to the top of some huge rocks, and there left. 

Onward and upward we toil, the perspiration rolling from our 
brows ; but we are cheered and rewarded by the increasing novelty 
and beauty of the scenes that are momentarily opening to our view 
as we ascend. 

About noon we can reach the summit of the mountain. It is im- 
possible to describe the magnificent panorama that is here spread 
out before us. Deep, deep below, in peaceful repose, sleeps the 
valley ; its carpet of green cut up by sheets of standing water, and 
small brooks that run down from every ravine and gorge, while 
the serpentine course of the river resembles a huge silver ribbon, 
as its sheen flashes in the sun. On its banks, and at the foot of 


the mountains around, groves of pine trees, two hundred feet in 
height, look like mere weeds. 

All the hollows of the main chain of the Sierras, stretching to 
the eastward and southward, apparently but a few miles distant, 
are filled with snow, above and out of which sharp and bare saw- 
like peaks of rock rise, well defined, against the clear blue sky. 
The south dome from this elevation, as from the valley, is the 
grandest of all the objects in sight ; a conical mountain beyond, 
and a little to the south of the south dome, is apparently as high, 
but few points, even of the summits of the Sierras, seem to be but 
little higher than it. * 

The bare, smooth granite top of this mountain upon which we 
stand, and the stunted and storm-beaten pines that struggle for 
existence and sustenance in the seams of the rock, with other 
scenes equally unprepossessing, present a view of savage sterility 
and dreariness that is in striking contrast with the productive fer- 
tility of the lands below, or the heavily timbered forests through 
which we pass on our way to the valley. 

From this ridge, which most probably is not less than 3,500 
feet above the valley, we descend nearly 1,000 feet, at an easy 
grade, to the Yo- Semite River. The current of this stream, for 
half a mile above the edge of the falls, runs at the rate of about 
eight knots an hour. Upon careful measurement with a line, we 
find it to be thirty-four and a half feet in width, with an average 
depth of twelve inches. The gray granite rock over which it runs 
is very hard, and as smooth as a sheet of ice ; to tread which in 
safety great care is needed, or before one is aware of it, he will 
find his head where his feet should be, and the force of the current 
sweeping him over the falls. 

When, on our return, we have reached the top of the ridge be- 
fore mentioned, and again see the wonders and glories that are 
beyond us, all that we seem to wish or hope for is the possession of 
a single pound of bread, or any other edibles ; and after building us 
a fire, by which to sleep for the night without blankets, that we 
may pursue our interesting explorations to a more satisfactory 
close on the morrow. 


We must not allow this charming spot to detain us too long, 
however, as the descent will probably keep us busy for at least 
three hours ; and as the uneven character of our pathless way 
down the canon will be attended with both difficulty and danger 
after dark, a liberal allowance of time will be a good investment. 
Therefore, let us say, u off." 



Every sight worth seeing, with a knowledge how to see it, 
should be known to every visitor/ It does not follow that because 
each one is thus pointed out, and its attractions mentioned, that 
every one has the strength, or the wish, or the time to go to see it. 
That must be determined according to mental or bodily condition, 
and other contingencies. After journeying so far, all other con- 
siderations permitting, it will be well that as many scenes of 
beauty, or of singularity, or of majesty, should be witnessed, as 
may be possible. There are but few more astonishing and im- 
pressive than the one planned out for to-day. Therefore, hoping 
that " circumstances," over which we are supposed to have some 
control, are on our side, let us make the attempt. 

Leaving behind all unnecessary clothing, but taking some little 
refreshment, let us cross the bridge, and striking out over the 
meadow in a northerly direction, climb the debris on the 
opposite side. Arriving at the first bench of the mountain, let us 
work our way along it, almost to the upper edge of the lower Yo- 
Semite Fall. The surging cataract at our side, and the compre- 
hensive view into and around the valley, at this point alone, 
amply repay us already for our trouble. The garden, trees, bridge, 
river, house, and farm -buildings ; the diminutive cattle and horses, 
and men and women, all seem smaller ; while the walls that sur- 
round us appear larger and higher, and more weird-like and 

Let us not linger, however, too long ; but, threading our way 
upward, among stunted live oaks and manzanita bushes that grow 
in a gently-ascending crevice of the mountain, and give us foot- 


hold and protection, until we have surmounted its top, and 
stand, awed, in the immediate presence of such untold and bewil- 
dering majesty as that now rewarding- our toil. Alas ! who can 
describe it? Who tell of its glories, its wonders, its beauties? A 
simple, realizing idea merely, is almost next to impossible. 

The fall, very naturally, first attracts our attention. That it is 
an avalanche of water about to bury us up, or sweep us into the 
abyss beneath, is the apparently irresistible first impression. By 
degrees we take courage, and, climbing the watery mass with our 
eye, discern its remarkable changes and forms. Now it would seem 
that numerous bands of fun-loving fairies have undisputed posses- 
sion, each of whom had set out for a frolic ; and, assuming the 
shape of a watery rocket, have entered the fall ; and, after making 
the leap, are now playing " Hide-and-Seek " with each other ; now 
chasing, now catching ; then, with retreating surprises, disappear- 
ing from view, and re-forming, or changing, shoot again into sight. 
While the \vind, as if shocked at such playful irreverence, takes 
hold of the white diamond mass, and lifts it aside like a curtain ; 
when each rocket-formed fairy, leaping down from its folds, dis- 
appears from our eyes and becomes lost among rainbows and 

The first great vertical leap of this fall is sixteen hundred feet 
the highest in any portion of the globe yet known to man. The 
wall of granite at its back, although less than half the height of 
Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah, is scarcely less impressive when we stand almost 
immediately beneath it. The pine-tree that grows at the top of the 
shrubby point, east of the stream, although apparently but a mere 
speck, is one hundred and twenty-five feet in height. 

During the winter large quantities of ice form each night at 
the sides of the fall, and being immediately opposite the east, the 
rays of the morning sun soon loosen them, when they fall with a 
loud boom, and the opposite walls catch and re-echo the sound 
until the whole valley seems filled with its reverberating peals. 

This is not all. The descending water, by displacing the air 
around it, creates an immense vacuum, and the atmosphere above, 
for a large circumference, rushing in to fill it, makes almost a 


tornado in its immediate circle. The result is, that when snow is 
falling, it is drawn from quite a distance into this vacuum, and 
uniting with the ice deposited at the foot of the fall, forms an 
immense depth of congealed snow and ice, of from three hundred 
to four hundred feet. When the spring thaw commences in good 
earnest, the large stream played from above upon that mass of 
ice, soon wears out a funnel-shaped hollow, into which it falls, 
and, after striking, rebounds upward from five to seven hundred 
feet, filling the whole space at the left with heavy clouds of spray. 
The sun, shining upon these, paints them with all the colors of 
the rainbow ; and when one gust of spray drives stronger than 
another into this beautiful mass, the colors are made to run and 
intermix, until the whole scene is beyond description one of the 
most gorgeous and overpowering. 

Beneath the upper fall, there is a cave, of some thirty-five or 
forty feet in depth, from its face. Some few persons, more ven- 
turesome than prudent, have run into this when the wind has 
lifted the entire body of falling water to one side. But it is a 
" risky " experiment ; for, in addition to the danger of its return 
to its vertical position, thus cutting off all chances of retreat, the 
whole cave is densely filled with comminuted spray, which renders 
breathing almost impossible. 

The top of the fall can be reached by the steep canon on the 
west, when the waters of Yo-Semite are low enough to permit 
crossing. But owing to a dense growth of shrubbery, bent for- 
ward and downward by winter snows, its ascent would be 
attended with difficulty, arid perhaps with sundry rendings of the 

Still this has been several times successfully accomplished by 
enterprising tourists ; when, after crossing Yo-Semite above the 
fall, they have returned to the valley by Indian Caiiori. 



Supposing that exercise is toughening us into the endurance of 
almost any reasonable amount of physical fatigue, and that the 



great sights witnessed much more than compensate us for the toil 
expended in reaching them, let us set out at once for the new 
points above indicated at least in imagination : for if any of us 
wish to see Yo-Semite in its glory, from a precipice of nearly four 
thousand feet, and, by climbing to the top of the Sentinel Dome 
look upon nearly every prominent peak of the sierras for a dis- 
tance of fifty miles, we had better not stay behind. Leaving the 
hotel, we take the same course for about a mile that we did when 
on our way to the Vernal and Nevada falls. 

As our feet fall on the flower-covered and beautiful, though not 
very fertile bottom-lands of the upper part of the valley, arid we 
thread our way through a labyrinth of oak, pine, maple, cotton- 
wood, and other trees, the mountain w T alls on either side throw 
their awe-inspiring and heavy shadows over us, and make our 
hearts to leap with wild emotion and new pleasure, as though we 
stood upon enchanted ground, and all the scenes upon which we 
look are the magical creations of some wonder-working genii. 



"A thin mist is lying," as Mr. Tirrel so beautifully remarks, 
" upon the valley, and stealing up the mountain sides. The cliffs 
upon our left are all in deep shadow, the outline of their summits 
cutting darkly and strongly against the brilliant light of the 
unclouded sky. Great streams of sunlight come pouring through 
the openings in the cliffs, illuminating long, radiating belts of 
mist, which extend clear across the valley, and are lost among the 
confusion of rock and foliage forming the debris on the opposite 
side. Directly in front of us, and about three miles distant, is 
the South Dome, the highest mountain in the valley, as well as 
the boldest and most beautiful in outline. Its base is shrouded 
in the hazy mystery which envelops every thing in the valley. 
Numerous little white clouds, becoming detached from this misty 
curtain, are sailing up the mountain side. Dodging about among 
the projecting spurs, intruding their beautiful forms slowly into 
the dark caverns, puffed out again in a hurry by the eddying 
winds which hold possession of these gloomy recesses, and then 
resume their upward flight, each following the other with the pre- 
cision and regularity of a fleet of white-winged yachts rounding a 
stake-boat, and each eaten up by the sun with astonishing rapidity, 
as they sail slowly past the angle of shadow cast across the lower 
half of the mountain. High above all this, in the clear, bright 
sunshine, towers the lofty summit. Every projection and indenta- 
tion, weather and water stain, fern, vine, and lichen, so clearly 
defined that one can almost seem to touch it." 

Turn where we may, objects of interest seem inexhaustible. 
Every new point passed, by rock or by river, has some new beauty 
to attract and charm us ; so that even when we have left the com- 
paratively level bottom-lands of the valley, and ascended the 
debris to a considerable height, views of the opposite walls over 
the tops of the trees reward us at every step. Ferns, mosses, -flow- 
ers, and flowering shrubs, arc at our side. The "shadow of a great 
rock " is on our left hand, giving us its refreshing shelter. Then, 
turning past a bold, jutting promontory of rock, from whence views 
of great majesty arc unfolded to us, our course is up the rocky bed 
of a ravine, somewhat steep, but perfectly safe to the very top. By 


sitting down frequently, to rest and look about us, we are con- 
stantly receiving our reward. 

Reaching a shrub and tree covered plateau, we strike eastwardly, 
and soon arrive at the summit of Glacial Point. Before looking 
down, let us call attention to a somewhat noticeable projecting point, 
that, seen from the valley, apparantly extends out some three or 
four feet, but which we find, when standing by it, is over thirty 
feet beyond the nearly vertical wall. Watkins, the photographer, 
once ran out to the very point of this rock, and from it took one of 
the finest views of the South Dome and the country beyond ever 

Now let us advance to the margin of the precipice. We can 
steady ourselves by pressing against the large rock at our side ; or 
we can lie down, and, having some one to take hold of our feet, 
slide out like a snake to its utmost edge. It may make us a 
little nervous, perhaps, but, taking all necessary precautions, we 
shall find it unaccompanied with any real danger, and we shall 
certainly never regret that our courage was equal to the task of 
one good look into such an awful abyss. 

The greatest of artists have almost invariably failed in portray- 
ing depth from a high stand-point ; and we know of no writer, 
living or dead, who has been any more successful than the artist. 
"We wish, for the sake of our friends who cannot see this with 
their own eyes, that "the coming man" had arrived he who 
would prove the exception to the rule. But, alas, he has not, as 
yet, made his appearance. "No " trumpet of fame " announces the 
gratifying fact of his approach. " Under these distressing circum- 
stances," as the pathetic novelist would say, " we are prepared to 
wait ;" and looking down with our own common-place eyes, " see 
what we shall see." 

Large trees, two hundred feet high, are dwarfed to utter insig- 
nificance. The little checker-board like spot first noticed is 
Lamon's apple-orchard of four acres, and which contains over five 
hundred trees, each of which are twenty feet apart. The other 
cultivated point beyond, formed by the junction of Tenieya Creek 
with the Merced River, is Lamon's other orchard, and fruit and 


vegetable garden. The bright speck which throws out its silvery 
sheen in that deep, tree-dotted canon, is Mirror Lake. While the 
South Dome, apparently forever omnipresent in any scene near 
or within the valley, overshadows and eclipses every lesser wonder 
by monopolizing a large share of our admiration and attention. 
Elsewhere, the North Dome, Cloud's Rest, Cap of Liberty, Mount 
Starr King, Yo-Semite, and other prominent objects here visible, 
would have their due effect ; but, although at this altitude and 
position they differ altogether in outline and conformation, the 
South Dome stands, pre-eminently, king over all. 

On the right of this " monarch," in the deep gorge of the river, 
the magnificent Nevada Fall, Diamond Flume and Apron, Vernal 
Fall, and the foaming cataract of the Merced, all flash out their 
silvery sheen most gloriously, while mountains piled on mountains 
in every conceivable shape, stand guard on every side. But to see 
these, and other points, to advantage, let us ascend the now easily 
reached Sentinel Dome. 

Had this lofty dome been " scalped " by some tornado it could 
have scarcely shown less vegetation ; for, with the exception of one or 
two stunted and deformed storm-beaten pines, whose solitary and 
exposed condition almost excite our sympathy, there is scarcely a 
vestige of a living thing upon it ; but almost every failing has some 
virtue to counterbalance it, and often among the meanest of men. 
It is thus with this point ; for if it has no trees to clothe and to 
beautify, it certainly has none to obstruct or circumscribe the 
limit of our vision. 

Before us lies the very backbone so to speak of the Sierra 
Nevadas; and, although some thirty miles distant, and every 
prominent peak distinctly visible for fifty miles, it seems almost 
near enough for us to stretch our hands and touch it. Its verte- 
brae, however, besides being very uneven, has altitudes upon it 
exceeding thirteen thousand feet above the sea ; and in its sheltered 
hollows immense banks of snow are eternally sleeping. The fol- 
lowing are some of the most noteworthy mountains seen from this 
stand-point : Mt. Hoffman, 10,872 feet high ; Cathedral Peak, 
11,000 ; Mt. Dana, 13,227 ; Mt. Lyell, 12,270 ; Castle Peak, 


12,500 ; Gothic Peak, 10,850 ; Mount Starr King, 9,600 ; South 
Dome, 10,000 feet. There are numerous others visible which, 
although both high and prominent, are as yet nameless. 

Did time permit us we might profitably tarry here for hours, 
or even days, as new beauties would be opening, and strange 
forms made manifest on every side. Before leaving, however, 
let us look once more down into the valley, as the haze-draped 
vertical walls of Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah can be seen from base to sum- 
mit. The Yo-Semite too, with the country above it through 
which it runs, before making its wonderful leap, its bare ridges, 
singular groups of rocks, -forest- clothed heads of ravines, up to its 
source at Mount Hoffman, are all spread Beneath us for, remem- 
ber, we are over one thousand feet above the Yo-Semite Fall. 
Stretching far away to the west we can look upon the broad 
valleys of the San Joaquin and Sacramento, and distinctly see the 
Coast Range near the Golden Gate. But, the rapidly declining 
sun admonishes us to return ; so, let us not tempt the danger that 
will lurk in our path, if we have to descend any portion of the 
way in the dark. 

How many days or weeks, or even months could be well 
spent in Yo-Semite it would be difficult to determine. Hurried 
visits like those we are making only give glimpses and foretastes 
of a few of its wonderful sights. Quiet, rest-giving rides, with 
intervals of physical toil, should give us all time to feel as well as 
to see, its infinite glories, and beauties, and wonders. 

As yet our feet have not trod the tops of such mountains as 
Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah (El Capitan), Pom-pom-pa-sus (Three Brothers), 
North Dome, and Mount Hoffman, on the north side of the 
valley ; while .on the south side there would be the fissure, one 
thousand feet deep, the Clouds' Rest, and others' equally worthy. 
But in order to see all of such points to advantage, and with real 
enjoyment, camping-out parties should be organized, properly 
provided with suitable outfits and servants, and the "round trip " 
be made from Tamarack Flat to Tuolumne Yalley, by Cathedral 
Yalley and Lake Tenieya ; and returning by the Mountain Mead- 
ows on the Mariposa side. 


The time will come when such glorious scenes as could be 
witnessed on such an excursion will be one of the great charms 
in visiting Yo-Semite. The health-giving properties of such a 
journey too, would in untold instances renew the apparently short 
lease of life vouchsafed to many. The comfortably bracing at- 
mosphere and the pure delicious water, united with the sublime 
scenery would be the magical genii of their cure. 

Charles Brace, in his valuable work " The New West," thus 
graphically writes : 

" From this hotel [the Yo-Semite] there are excursions enough 
to occupy one for weeks, among the beautiful scenes of the valley. 
Each morning the guide saddles the horses which had been turned 
loose in the mountain pasture and fastens them in front of the 
house ; and after lunch has been packed, we set off in different 
directions, to see the famous points and objects. One of the most 
enjoyable features of the excursion is simply cantering up and 
down the valley, getting the new aspects which open freshly 
every half-mile, and are different every hour of the day. The 
wonderful thing about the canon, which will hereafter draw many 
an invalid here from distant lands, is its divine atmosphere. To 
me, just recovering from a tedious fever, it seemed the very elixir 
of life cool, clear, stimulating, and filled with light and glory 
from the sun of the south, which here never seems in summer to 
have a cloud. The nights are cool, but midday would be too 
warm w^ere it not for the delicious sea-breeze which every day at 
eleven, blows in from the Golden Gate, a hundred and fifty miles 
away. The gorge is fortunately east and west just about opposite 
to San Francisco, and about midway between the two flanks of 
the sierras here some seventy miles in width. Were it a north 
and south valley, even at its altitude (4,000 feet), it would be 
almost intolerable.' "Now nothing can surpass its mild, invigora- 
ting climate, and harmonious atmosphere. Life seems to have a 
new spring and hope under it. The charm of the wonderful 
valley is its cheerfulness and joy. Even the awe-inspiring gran- 
deur and majesty of its features do not overwhelm the sense of its 
exquisite beauty, its wonderful delicacy, and color, and life, and joy. 


" As I recall those rides in the fresh morning or the dreamy 
noon, that scene of unequalled grandeur and beauty is forever 
stamped on my memory, to remain when all other scenes of earth 
have passed from remembrance the pearly -gray and purple 
precipices, awful in mass, far above one, with deep shadows on 
their rugged surfaces, dark lines of gigantic archways or fantastic 
images drawn clearly upon them, the bright white water dashing 
over the distant gray tops seen against the dark blue of the 
unfathomable sky, the heavy shadows over the valley from the 
mighty peaks, the winding stream, and peaceful greensward w T ith 
gay wild-flowers below, the snowy summits of the sierras far 
away, the atmosphere of glory illuminating all, and the eternal 
voice of many waters wherever you walk or rest ! This is the 
Yo- Semite in memory ! 

"I have been thinking much of scenes in Norway, Tyrol, and 
Switzerland, with which to compare this. Switzerland, as a 
whole, is much superior in combinations and variety of features to 
the sierra region. But there is no one scene in Switzerland, or 
the other parts of mountainous Europe, which can at all equal 
this Californian valley. The Swiss scene has the advantage in 
the superb glaciers which flow into the upper end of the valley, 
but it is inferior in grandeur, arid even in life, to the Californian. 
The latter having immensely grander precipices, and, instead of 
one waterfall the Staubbach a dozen on a much grander 

An English gentleman, a member of the celebrated Alpine 
Club, spent seventeen days in Yo-Semite, and upon leaving he 
remarked to the writer. "I never left a place with so much 
pleasurable regret in my life. I have several times visited all 
the noted places in Europe, and many that are out of the ordinary 
tourist's round. I have crossed the Andes in three different 
places, and been conducted to the sights considered most remark- 
able I have been among the charming. scenery of the Sandwich 
Islands, and the mountain districts of Australia, but never have I 
seen so much of sublime grandeur relieved by so much beauty, as 
that which I have witnessed in Yo-Semite." 




A love for the beautiful, in nature or art, is not only a magnet 
of attraction to persons of kindred tastes, but, dispelling all 
national prejudices and social ceremonies, becomes a bond of 
individual friendship between men of different countries, habits, 
arid peculiarities. Especially is this remarkable in those who 
travel much ; for, without being offensively obtrusive, they have 
learned to accept and bestow kindnesses promptly, as matters of 
natural courtesy ; and to ask or answer questions, sometimes in 
partial anticipation of the wishes and pleasures of a fellow- 
traveller, without any apparent obligation to or from either, and 
which places them upon terms of intimacy and friendliness to 
each other. 

Through such a medium, by the kindness of Rev. P. Y. Yeeder, 
of Napa, we are favored with the following notes of comparison 
between the scenery of the Yo-Semite Yalley, and that of some 
parts of Switzerland : 

" The Alps of Switzerland and Savoy may be compared to a 
vast shield or buckler, lying on the bosom of the earth, and ex- 
tending one hundred and fifty miles from the borders of France 
to the Alps of the Tyrol, and one hundred miles from the plains of 
Piedmont to the broad valley between the Alps and the Jura 
Mountains. From this rough-seamed surface, there rise three im- 
mense bosses, or projecting points three radiating centres, sending 
off lofty chains of mountains toward each other, and into the 
plains of France, Italy, and Switzerland, at their feet. The loftiest 
of these bosses or centres is Mont Blanc in Savoy, the height of 
which is fifteen thousand seven hundred and forty-four feet ; the 
next in height is Monte Rosa, fifteen thousand two hundred feet 
high ; and the third is the Bernese Alps, the culminating point of 
which is the Finster-aarhorn, fourteen thousand one hundred feet 
high. These three grand centres are about sixty miles apart, and 
each has a scenery peculiar to itself. They are alike vast, rugged, 
mountain masses, towering six thousand feet into the region of 


perpetual snow ; but Mont Blanc has its " aiguilles" or needles ; 
Monte Rosa, its wonderful neighbor, Mont Cervin; and the Ber- 
nese Alps have their beautiful valley of misty waterfalls, leaping 
over perpendicular cliffs. The traveller who visits Yo-Semite 
Yalley after seeing the Alps, will be reminded of each of these 
three grand centres. He will see the aiguilles of Mont Blanc in 
the ' Sentinel,' or 'Castle Rock,' rising, as straight as a needle, 
to the height of three thousand two hundred feet above the valley, 
and in several other pointed rocks of the same kind. He will be 
reminded of the sublimest object in the vicinity of Monte Rosa, 
the Materhorn, or Mont Cervin, the summit of which is a dark 
obelisk of porphyry, rising, from a sea of snow, to the height of 
four thousand five hundred feet. The ' South Dome,' at Yo- 
Semite Falls, is a similar obelisk, four thousand five hundred and 
ninety-three feet in height. 

" But, above all, the general shape, the size, and the waterfalls 
of Yo-Semite Valley give it the closest resemblence to the famous 
valley of Lauterbrunnen, at the base of the Jungfrau, in the 
Bernese Alps. No part of Switzerland is more admired and 
visited. To me, its chief charm is not so much its sublime preci- 
pices, and its lofty waterfalls, which give the valley its name, 
4 Lauterbrunnen,' meaning sounding-brooks,' as the magnificent 
mountain summits, towering up beyond the precipices, and the 
unearthly beauty and purity of the glistening snows on the bosom 
of the Jungfrau, and the mountains at the head of the valley. 
But these summits are not the peculiar characteristic features of 
Lauterbrunnen Valley. These are the waterfalls, the perpen- 
dicular precipices, and the beautiful grassy and vine-clad vale 
between. And these are the grand features of Yo-Semite Yalley. 
Here you stand in a level valley of about the same dimensions as 
the Lauterbrunnen from eight to ten miles long, and a little 
more than a mile w T ide covered here with a magnificent pine 
forest, the trees averaging two hundred feet in height ; there, with 
a growth of noble oaks ; and elsewhere opening into broad, grassy 
fields. These natural features almost equal in beauty the vine- 
yards, gardens, and cultivated fields of Lauterbrunnen. 


" But look now at the waterfalls : only one of them in the Swiss 
valley has a European celebrity the Staubbach, or 'Dust- 
Brook' known as the highest cascade in Europe. It falls at one 
leap, nine hundred and twenty-five feet. Long before it reaches 
the ground it becomes a veil of vapor, beclouding acres of fertile 
soil at its foot. It is worthy of all the admiration and enthusiasm 
it excites in the beholder. But the ' Bridal Veil' (Pohono) Fall 
in Yo-Semite Yalley is higher, being nine hundred and forty feet 
in altitude; leaps out of a smoother channel, in a clear, symmetri- 
cal arch of indescribable beauty ; has a larger body of water, and 
is surrounded by far loftier and grander precipices. 

"When we come to the 'Yo-Semite Falls' proper, we behold 
an object which has no parallel anywhere in the Alps. The upper 
part is the highest waterfall in the world, as yet discovered, being 
fifteen hundred feet in height. It reminds me of nothing in the 
Alps but the avalanches seen falling at intervals down the preci- 
pices of the Jungfrau. It is, indeed, a perpetual avalanche of 
water comminuted as finely as snow, and spreading, as it descends, 
into a transparent veil, like the train of the great comet of 1858. 
As you look at it from the valley beneath, a thousand feet below, 
it is not unlike a snowy comet, perpetually climbing, not the 
heavens, but the glorious cliffs which tower up three thousand 
feet into the zenith above, not unlike a firmament of rock. 

" The lower section of the Yo-Semite Falls has its parallel in 
Switzerland, the Handeck, but is much higher. The scenery 
around the ' Vernal' (Pi-wy-ack) Falls which resemble a section 
of the American Falls at Niagara is like that of the Devil's 
Bridge, in the great St. Gothard road, which is, perhaps, the 
wildest and most savage spot in Switzerland, unless we except 
that wonderful gorge of the Ehine the Videllala. But when you 
clir^ib through blinding spray, and up 'The Ladders,' to the top 
of the Vernal Falls, and follow the foaming river to the foot of 
the ' Nevada' (Yo-wi-ye) Falls, all comparison fails to convey an 
idea of the wildness and sublimity of the scene. The Swiss 
traveller must climb the rugged sides of Mont Blanc, cross the 
Mer de Glace, and, stationing himself on the broken rocks of the 


Gardin, imagine a river falling in a snowy avalanche over the 
shoulder of one of the sharp aiguilles, or needle-shaped peaks 
around him. There are no glaciers at the foot of the Kevada 
Falls, but every other feature of the scene has an unearthly wild- 
ness, to be equalled only near Alpine summits. 

" To return again to the comparison of the sister valleys the 
Yo-Semite and the Lauterbrunnen. The third peculiar feature of 
the Swiss valley is the parallel precipices on each side, rising per- 
pendicularly from one thousand to fifteen hundred feet. They are, 
indeed, sublime, and where the cliff projects, in a rounded form, 
like the bastions of some huge castle, you might imagine that you 
beheld one of the strongholds of the fabled Titans of old. But what 
are they, compared with such a giant as Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah, lifting up 
his square, granite forehead, three thousand and ninety feet above 
the grassy plain at his feet, , rounded, curving cliff, as smooth, as 
symmetrical to the eye, and absolutely as vertical, for the upper 
fifteen hundred feet, as any Corinthian pillar on earth ! What 
shall we say, when, standing in the middle of a valley more than a 
mile wide, you know that if these granite walls should fall toward 
each other, they would smite their foreheads together hundreds 
of feet above the valley ! What magnificent domes are those, 
scarcely a mile apart the one three thousand eight hundred feet, 
and the other four thousand five hundred and ninety-three feet in 
height ! When you stand in the valley of Lauterbrunnen, and 
look at the snowy summit of Jungfrau, or c Virgin,' you behold an 
object eleven thousand feet above you; but your map will tell 
you that it is five miles distant, and, by a little calculation, you 
will find that you raise your eyes at an angle of only twenty-three 
degrees. So at Chamounix, you look up at the snowy dome of 
Mont Blanc, rising twelve thousand three hundred and thirty 
feet above you ; but you must remember that it is six and one- 
half miles distant from you, and the angle at which you view it is 
only twenty degrees, while the very sharpest angle at which you 
can view it is twenty-five degrees. But at Yo-Semite you need 
but climb a few rods up the rocks at the base of that granite wall, 
and, leaning up against it, you may look up if your nerves are 


steady enough to withstand the impression that the cliffs are fall- 
ing over upon you and see the summits above you, at an angle of 
nearly ninety degrees ; in other words, you will behold a mountain 
top three thousand feet above you in the zenith. I have seen the 
stupendous declivity of the Italian side of Monte Rosa a steep, 
continuous precipice of nine thousand feet ; but it is nothing like 
Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah, being nowhere absolutely perpendicular." 


As no footsteps have ever trod the hazy summit of the dome- 
crowned mountain of granite, named Tis-sa-ack, that stands at 
the head of the Yo-Semite Valley ; and no eye has ever looked 
into the purple depth and misty distance that stretches far away 
across the valley of the San Joaquin, from its lofty top; and, as 
we had long desired to explore all of its unknown and mysterious 
surroundings, it is very natural that we should feel an earnest 
yearning to gaze upon the wonders, beauty, and majesty, that may 
be visible from so bold and so high a stand-point, as there can 
be but little doubt of its being at least a mile in perpendicular 
height above the valley.* 

u If you feel like making the attempt to climb it," said two 
excellent and companionable friends, " we are ready to accompany 
you, and will take you by the Indian trail up the mountain ; but it 
is a very difficult and fatiguing undertaking, we assure you, ac- 
companied with some danger." The chances were accepted. 

On, on we march, in Indian tile, until we are nearly on the 
margin of the river. When we reach it, we find that a small, yet 
tall tree has fallen across to form a bridge, over which we walk, 
while the thundering water splashes and surges as it sweeps 
against the rocks, much to the discomposure of the nervous system 
of some, knowing that we have to follow suit, or stay behind. 

This accomplished, we soon begin the ascent of the mountain 
over loose fragments of debris, and among huge masses of fallen 

* Measurements of this mountain have differed very materially ; several engineers 
having made it from 4,700 to 5,500. Prof. Brewer informed the writer in 1865, that 
from observations made by him. at about the same altitude, and with the South Dome 
in full sight, its summit was 10,000 feet above the sea, and 6,000 above the valley 



rocks, lying at the side of the mountain, and in the bed of a small 
but very deep canon ; but these are soon left behind, and we have 
to commence climbing around and over points of rocks, walking 
on narrow edges, or feeling our way past some projecting point, 
or tree, or shrub ; steadying ourselves by a twig, or crevice, or 


jutting rock ; or holding on with our feet, as well as our hands, 
knowing that a slip will send us down several hundred feet, into 
the deep abyss that yawns beneath. 

In some places, where the ledges of rock are high and smooth, 
broken branches of trees have been placed, so as to enable the 
Indians to climb above them ; and then, by removing the means 
of their ascent, cut off the pursuit of any advancing foe. These, 
although risky places to travel over, and in no way inviting to a 
nervous man, are of considerable assistance in the accomplishment 
of our task. 


After an exciting and fatiguing exercise, of about three hours, 
we reach a large projecting rock, that forms a cave. Here we 
take a rest of a few minutes, and then renew our efforts to reach 
the top of the mountain. A little before noon this is accom- 

To our great comfort and satisfaction, a cool and refreshing 
breeze is blowing upon us as soon as we reach the summit ; and 
this is especially welcome, as the heat, on the sheltered side, by 
which we have ascended, has been very oppressive, pouring down 
upon us from a hot sun, without the slightest breeze to fan, or 
shadow to shelter us, as we climb. 

The reader must not anticipate our narrative, by supposing that 
the difficult task of ascending the Great Dome is now accomplished, 
far from it ; for, although we have reached the top of the elevated 
plateau, or mountain ridge, to the height of about three thousand 
seven hundred feet above the valley, the great, bald-headed object 
of our aspirations is still lifting its proud summit more than a 
thousand feet above us. 

While advancing toward Tis-sa-ack, looking out for some point 
where the ascent can be the most successfully attempted, we 
come 'upon the projecting margin of the immense granite wall of 
rock seen from below ; and, as we stand upon it, looking down 
into the far off and misty depths of the valley beneath, with the 
river winding hither and thither, no language can describe the ap- 
palling grandeur and frightful profoundness of the scene. 

Steadying ourselves against a stunted pine tree, that has been 
toughened and strengthened by its perpetual struggles with the 
tempests and storms of many a year, and which is growing from a 
narrow crevice in the granite mass on either side, we roll several 
large, round rocks, that lie temptingly near the edge of the preci- 
pice, into the abyss beneath ; w r hen we are surprised to find that 
many seconds elapse before they are heard to strike on the bare 
rock below. It is our opinion that this precipice cannot be less 
than two thousand seven hundred feet in perpendicular altitude. 
Here we are enabled to find some flowers of a genus but recently 
known to botanists, and, consequently, new. 


Without lingering too long, we again start on our enterprise, 
and find that on this, the south side of the Dome, it is utterly 
impossible to climb up ; so we work our way through a dense, 
though comparatively dwarfish growth of manzanita bushes, 
growing at the base of the Dome (which makes sad havoc in 
broadcloth unmentionables), and about two o'clock p. M. reach 
the foot of a low, flattish, dome-shaped point of rock, that lies at 
the back or eastern side of the great Tis-sa-ack, and which is not 
seen from the valley. 

As we have not found a single drop of water to assuage our 
thirst, since we left the river, and the day and the exercise alike 
provocative of it, our gratification is strong at the sight of a snow 
bank, snugly ensconced in the shade, on the north side of the 
Dome. We now quicken our footsteps, and soon find ourselves 
sitting comfortably beside it, taking lunch. An abundance of 
good water being found issuing from a crevice in the rock, a short 
distance down the mountain, we repair thither to finish our repast, 
and take a good, hearty draught, before attempting the ascent. 
Here we find several new varieties of flowering shrubs, in addition 
to some bulbous roots, and very pretty mosses. 

The inner man being satisfied, the rapidly descending sun ad- 
monishes us to make the best of daylight to accomplish the task 
we have set ourselves. Accordingly, we repair to the Lower 
Dome, which is one immense spur of granite, belonging to the 
Great Dome ; and, as its surface, by time and the elements, is 
made tolerably rough, there is found comparatively but little 
difficulty in climbing it, especially with a little assistance. 

In some of the fissures or seams of this rock, some low, stunted 
scrubs are growing. When we reach the top of the Lower Dome, 
which is, perhaps, about four hundred and fifty feet above the 
average level of the main ridge, to our dismay and disappoint- 
ment, we find that not only is the gently rounding surface of 
the Great Dome itself at an angle of about sixty-eight or seventy 
degrees, but is overlaid and overlapped, so to speak, with vast 
circular granite shingles as smooth as glass about eighteen 
inches in thickness, and extending around the Dome as far as our 




eyes can reach. These put every hope to flight, of our feet, or 
those of any other visitors, ever treading upon the lofty crown of 
this dome, without extensive artificial adjuncts to aid in its accom- 
plishment. On the top of this immense mountain of smooth rock, 
one solitary pine is growing ; and although it is barely discernible 
from the valley (and not at all from the Lower Dome, where we are 
standing), by the aid of the telescope, it is seen to be a tree of 
goodly size. 

Much disappointed at the failure of the principal object of 
the enterprise, we will place our national banner upon the highest 
point attainable, in the hope that the day is not far distant when 
the number of visitors who shall annually come to worship at this 
sublime temple of nature, may create the necessity for the con- 
struction of a strong iron staircase to the very summit of Mount 
Tis-sa-ack ; and, that from the topmost crown of her noble head, 
the stars and stripes may wave triumphantly, as from this eleva- 
tion the whole surrounding country can be seen afar off, and a 
thousand times fully reward the perseverance and fatigue of the 



The Yo-Semite Valley (pronounced Yo-Sem'-i-ty) is about 150 
miles nearly due east from San Francisco, and by the routes 
travelled it is, to Stockton, by rail 93 miles, by steamboat 120 
miles ; add to those distances from Stockton, via the Calaveras 
Big Tree Grove, 168 miles (157 by stage and 11 by horseback) ; 
via Big Oak Flat direct, 109 miles (98 by stage and 11 by horse- 
back) ; via Mariposa 152 miles (107 by stage and 45 by horseback). 

The altitude of Yo-Semite above the sea, as given by the State 
Geological Survey, is 4,060 feet. It is about seven miles long, by 
from half a mile to one and a quarter miles in width ; surrounded 
by walls (in many places nearly vertical) from three thousand to 
six thousand feet in height. Its general course is northeasterly 
and southwesterly. From one end to the other there is a fall of 
about fifty feet, the total area within the walls of the valley, as 
given by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, Washing- 
ton, is 8,480 acres, 3,109 of which are meadow land, the entire 
grant comprising 36,111 acres. The main Merced River about 
eighty feet in width, and perfectly clear, runs through it. Trout 
in reasonable abundance can be seen at almost any point of the 

Numerous kinds of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs 
are interspersed entirely through it. Ferns, flowers, and grasses 
grow in almost endless quantities and varieties. Several fine 
chalybeate springs have been discovered there. The atmosphere 
is very temperate, bracing, and healthy both summer and winter, 
the thermometer seldom running above 80 in the summer, or 
more than 16 below freezing point in the winter. A cooling 
breeze from the northwest in the day-time, and from the south- 
east at night, keeps the valley in summer at a very comfortable 
temperature, ^gloods sweep through it in the early spring, and 
in the late fall, sometimes doing considerable damage. Snow falls 
in winter to the depth of from two and a half to five feet. The 
sun rises on Hutchings' Hotel during the short days about half- 
past one o'clock in the afternoon, and sets about half-past three. 


On this account a comfortable cabin was built on the sunny and 
north side of the valley. Rain or snow generally comes from the 
south. The heavy snows on the mountains cK>ssed by the trails, 
shut out all personal intercourse between the inhabitants and the 
great world outside for about six months out of twelve. An 
Indian mail-carrier brings us letters, papers, books, and magazines 
once in three months, during winter, and if the weather is favora- 
ble twice in that time. 



Feet above 
Indian Name. Signification. American Name. Valley. 

Pohono Spirit of the Evil Wind Bridal Veil Fall 940 

Lung-oo-too-koo-ya . . .Long and slender Ribbon Fall 3,300 

Yo-Sem-5-te Large Grizzly Bear Yo-Semite Fall 2,034 

First fall, 1,600 feet; second fall (or cataract), 434 feet; third fall, COO feet. 

Pi-wy-ack Cataract of Diamonds Vernal Fall 350 

Yo-wi-ye Meandering Nevada Fall 700 

Tu-lool-we-ack South Canon Fall (above 

base) 600 

Loya A Medicinal Shrub Sentinel (cataract) 3,860 

To-coy-a3 Shade to Baby Cradle-Basket. Royal Arch Fall 2,000 

The two latter streams, with numerous smaller ones, run only in the early spring. 


Tis-sa-ack Goddess of the Valley South Dome 6,000 

Cloud's Rest 6,450 

To-coy-re Shade to Baby Cradle-Basket . North Dome 3,725 

Hunto Watching Eye Washington Tower 2,200 

Mah-tah Martyr, or Suicide, Mountain . Cap of Liberty (above foot 

Nevada Falls) 2,000 

See-wah-lam Mount Starr King 5,000 

Er-na-tingLaw-oo-too.Bear Skin Glacier Point 3,705 

Loya A Medicinal Shrub Sentinel. 3,270 

Poo-see-nah Chuck-ka. Large Acorn Storehouse Cathedral Spires 2,400 

Ko-soo-kong Three Graces 3, 7 50 

'..Cathedral Rock 2,670 

Inspiration Point 3,200 

; Mount Beatitude 2,900 

Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah. . . .Semi-Deity and Great Chief 

of Valley The Captain 3,300 

Pom-pom-pa-sus Mountains playing Leap-Frog. Three Brothers 4,000 

Hum-moo. . . . . Lost Arrow . . Point East of Yo-Semite ... 3,100 





It is much to be regretted that the tourist should allow himself 
so brief a period in this wonderful valley, generally about four 
days only, when it should have been fourteen, for, after he has left 
its sublime solitudes, its numerous waterfalls and brooklets, its 
picturesque river scenes, its groups of shrubs and trees, its endless 
variety of wild flowers, its bold, rugged, awe-inspiring, pine- 
studded, and snow-covered mountain heights, with all their ever- 
changing shadows and curious shapes, and its health-giving and 
invigorating air, with its thousand of unmentioned charms, that 
would have given pleasurable occupation and grateful variety to 
every class and condition, both of body and mind, for months, he 
contrasts that which he saw with that he might have seen, and 
becomes dissatisfied with his course in spending so much time, as 


well as money, in travelling there, and then riding oft' without 
seeing more than a limited portion of such remarkable scenes. 

Wishing all a safe and joyous return, with none but pleasant 
memories forever of their Yo-Semite trip, we bid each agreeable 
companion a reluctant " good-bye," in the hope of soon welcoming 
them again to the beauty and majesty of the landscapes, and the 
invigorating air and pure waters of our unparalleled Yo-Sem'-i-te. 



' ; I ! '\ i S- 

\ V \ OH 



" Go abroad 

Upon the paths of Nature, and, when all 
Its voices whisper, and its silent things 
Are breathing the deep beauty of the world, 
Kneel at its simple altar, and the God 
Who hath the living waters shall be there." N. P. WILLIS. 


FOE several years after the discovery of the mammoth trees of 
Calaveras county had astonished the world, that group of trees 


was supposed to be the only one of the kind in existence. But, 
during the latter part of July or the beginning of August, 1855, Mr. 
Hogg, a hunter, in the employ of the South Fork Merced Canal 
Company, while in the pursuit of his calling, saw one or more 
trees, of the same variety and genus as those of Calaveras, grow- 
ing on one of the tributaries of Big Creek, and related the fact to 
Mr. Galen Clark, and other acquaintances. Late in September, 
or early in October. ensuing, Mr. J. E. Clayton, civil engineer, re- 
siding in Mariposa, while running a line of survey for Colonel 
J. C. Fremont, across some of the upper branches of the Frezno 
Hiver, discovered other trees of the same class, but, like Mr. Hogg, 
passed on without further examination or exploration. 

About the 1st of June, Mr. Milton Mann and Mr. Clark were 
conversing together on, the subject, at Clark's Ranche on the South 
Fork of the Merced, when they mutually agreed to go out on a 
hunting excursion in the direction indicated by Mr. Hogg and Mr. 
Clayton, for the purpose of ascertaining definitely the locality, size, 
and number of the trees mentioned. 

Well mounted, they left Clark's Eanche, and proceeded up the 
divide between the South Fork of the Merced and Big Creek, in 
a south-eastern ' course, with the intention of making a circuit of 
several miles, if not at first successful this plan being the most 
suggestive of their rediscovery. 

"When on the summit of the mountain, about four miles from 
Clark's, they saw the broad and towering tops of the mammoth 
trees since known as the " Mariposa Grove" and shortly after- 
ward were walking among their immense trunks. A partial 
examination revealed the fact, that a second grove of trees had 
been found, that was far more extensive than that of Calaveras, 
and many of the trees fully as large as those belonging to that 
world-renowned group. 

Early the following spring, Mr. Clark discovered two smaller 
groves of large trees, of the same class 1 and variety, each not ex- 
ceeding a quarter of a mile in distance from the other. 

About the end of July of the same year, he discovered another 
large grove upon the head waters of the Frezno ; and two days 


afterward, Mr. L. A. Holmes, of the Mariposa Gazette, and J udge 
Fitzlmgh, while on a hunting excursion, saw the tracks of Mr. 
Clark's mule as they passed the same group ; and as both these 
parties were very thirsty at the time, and near the top of the ridge 
at sundown, without water for themselves and animals, they were 
anxious to find this luxury and a good camping-place before dark. 
Consequently, they did not deem it best then to tarry to explore 
it, intending to pay this grove a visit at some early time of leisure 
in the future. This interesting task, however, seemed to be re- 
served for the writer and Mr. Clark, on the 2d and 3d of July, 1859. 
With this short epitome of the discovery of these additional 
wonders, we shall now give a brief narrative of a visit paid them. 


Arriving at Clark's Ranche (situated about half-way between 
the Great Valley and Mariposa), Mr. Galen Clark, the proprietor 
of the ranche, very kindly offered not only to guide us through the 
Mariposa Grove of mammoth trees, but also to conduct us to the 
Frezno Grove ; observing that, although the latter had been dis- 
covered by himself the previous year, it had not yet been examined 
or explored by any one. Of course, as the reader may guess, this 
offer was too generous, and too much in accordance with our 
wishes, to be declined. Our preparations completed, and when 
about to mount into the saddle, we both stood waiting. " Are 
you ready ?" asked our guide. " Quite," was the prompt re- 
joinder ; " but haven't you forgotten your hat, Mr. Clark ?" " Oh, 
no," he replied, " I never have been able to wear a hat since I had 
the fever some years ago, and I like to go without now,better than 
I did then to wear one." So much for habit.* 

With our fire-arms across our shoulders, and our blankets and 
a couple of days' provisions at the back of our saddles, we pro- 
ceeded for a short distance through the thick, heavy grass of the 
ranche, and commenced the gradual ascent of a well-timbered side- 
hill, on the edge of the valley, and up and over numerous low 
ridges, all of which were more or less covered with wild flowers, 

* Mr. C. has since been able to abandon this habit. 



on our way to the Mariposa Grove. Although the trail was well 
worn and good, yet, on account of the long ascent to the summit 
of the ridge, it was with no small pleasure that we found ourselves 
in the vicinity of the grove. 

Sketched from nature, by G. Tirrel. 

Who can picture, in language, or on canvas, all the sublime 
depths of wonder that flow to the soul in thrilling and intense 
surprise, when the eye looks upon these great marvels ? Long 
vistas of forest shades, formed by immense trunks of trees, extend- 
ing hither and thither : now arched by the overhanging branches 
of the lofty taxodiums, then by the drooping boughs of the white- 
blossomed dogwood ; while the high, moaning sweep of the pines, 
and the low whispering swell of the firs, sung awe-inspiring an- 
thems to their great Planter. 

The Indians, in years that are past, have, with Yandal hands, 
set portions of this magnificent forest on fire ; so that burnt stumps 
of trees and blackened underbrush frown upon you from several 
points. Indeed, many of the largest and noblest looking are 
badly deformed from this cause. Still, beautiful clumps of from 



three to ten trees in each, and others standing alone, are numerous, 
sound, and well formed. 

" Passing up the ravine, or basin," says Mr. J. Lamson, who 
kindly sent us the sketch from which this engraving is made, 
" we came to a large stem, whose top had been stripped of its 
branches, giving it somewhat the resemblance of an immense 
spear, and forcibly reminding one of Milton's description of Satan's 
weapon of that name : 

'To equal which, the tallest pine, 
Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast 
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand.' 

Believing this to be far greater than any tree Milton ever dreamed 



of, and fully equal to the wants of any reasonable Prince of 
Darkness, in compliment to the poet and his hero, we named it 
' Satan's Spear.' Its circumference is seventy-eight feet. 

" Several rods to the left of this, is another large trunk, with a 
dilapidated top, presenting the appearance of a tower, and is 
called i The Giant's Tower ;' seventy feet in circumference. Beyond 
this, stand two double trees, which have been named ' The Twin 
Sisters.' Still further on, is a tree with a straight and slender 
body, and a profusion of beautiful foliage ; near which, frowned 
a savage-looking monster, with a scarred and knotted trunk, and 
gnarled and broken branches, bringing to one's recollection the 
story of ' Beauty and the Beast.' Crossing the ravine near ' Satan's 
Spear,' there are many fine trees upon the side and summit of the 
ridge. One of the finest, whose circumference is sixty feet, and 
whose top consists of a mass of foliage of exceeding beauty, is 
called 'The Queen of the Forest.' Above these, stands 'The 
Artist's Encampment,' seventy-seven feet in circumference, though 
so large a portion of its trunk has decayed or been burned away 
to a height of thirty feet, as materially to lessen its dimensions." 

As the size of the principal trees was ascertained by Mr. Clark, 
and Colonel Warren, editor of the California Farmer, in which 
journal it first appeared, and as their measurements doubtless 
approximated to correctness, we give them below : 

" The first tree was ' The Rambler,' and measuring it three and 
a half feet from the ground, we found it eighty feet in circumfer- 
ence ; close at the ground, one hundred and two feet ; and, care- 
fully surveyed, two hundred and fifty feet high. Tree No. 2, 
nearly fifty feet in circumference. No. 3 (at the spring), ninety 
feet, three and a half feet from the ground ; one hundred and two 
at the ground ; and three hundred feet high. Nos. 4 and 5 (' The 
Sisters') measured eighty-two and eighty -seven feet in circumfer- 
ence, and two hundred and twenty-five feet high. Many of the 
trees had lost portions of their tops, by the storms that had swept 
over them. 

"The whole number measured, was one hundred and fifty-five, 
and these comprise but about half the group, which we estimate 



cover about two to three hundred acres, and lie in a triangular 
form. Some of the trees first meet your view in the vale of the 
mountain ; thence rise southeasterly and northwesterly, till you 
find yourself gazing upon the neighboring points, some ten miles 
from you, whose tops are still covered with their winter snows. 
The following are the numbers and measurement of the trees :* 

1 tree, 40 feet in circumference. 

1 tree, 35 feet do 

2 trees, 36 feet each do 
2 trees, 32 feet each do 

1 tree, 28 feet do 

2 trees, 100 feet each do 
1 tree, 82 feet do 

1 tree, 80 feet do 

2 trees, 77 feet each do 
1 tree, 76 feet do 

3 trees, 75 feet each do 

1 tree, 64 feet do 

4 trees, 65 feet each do 

2 trees, 63 feet each do 

1 tree, 61 feet do 
10 trees, 60 feet each do 

3 trees, 59 feet each do 

2 trees, 51 feet each do 

6 trees, 50 feet each do 
1 tree, 49 feet . do 
1 tree, 47 feet do 

1 tree, 46 feet do 

2 trees, 45 feet each do 
1 tree, 43 feet do 

7 trees, 44 feet each do 

4 trees, 42 feet each do 

3 trees, 41 feet each do 

8 trees, 40 feet each do 

" Some of these were in groups of three, four, and even five, 
seeming to spring from the seeds of one cone. Several of these 
glorious trees we have, in association w T ith our friend, named. 
The one near the spring we call the Fountain Tree, as it is used as 
the source of the refreshment. Two trees, measuring ninety and 
ninety-seven feet in circumference, were named the Two Friends. 

* Prof. Whitney gives the total number of trees here at 365, of a diameter of one 
foot or over; and 125 trees, over 40 feet in circumference. 

1 tree, 102 feet in circumference. 

1 tree, 97 feet 


1 tree, 92 feet 


3 trees, 76 feet each 


1 tree, 72 feet 


3 trees, 70 feet each 


1 tree, 68 feet 


1 tree, 66 feet 


1 tree, 63 feet 


3 trees, 63 feet each 


2 trees, 60 feet each 


1 tree, 59 feet 


1 tree, 58 feet 


3 trees, 57 feet each 


1 tree. 56 feet 


3 trees, 55 feet each 


2 trees, 54 feet each 


1 tree, 53 feet 


1 tree, 51 feet 


4 trees, 50 feet each 


6 trees, 49 feet each 


5 trees, 48 feet each 


2 trees, 47 feet each 


3 trees, 46 feet each 


2 trees, 45 feet each 


1 tree, 44 feet 


2 trees, 43 feet eacli 


2 trees, 42 feet each 



The groups of trees consisted of many of peculiar beauty and 
interest. One of those, which measured one hundred feet in cir- 
cumference, was of exceeding gigantic proportions, and towered 
up three hundred feet ; yet a portion of its top, where it apparent- 
ly was ten feet in diameter, had been swept off by storms. While 
we were measuring this tree, a large eagle came and perched upon 
it, emblematical of the grandeur of this forest as well as that of 
our country. 

" Near by it stood a smaller tree, that seemed a child to it, yet 
it measured forty-seven feet in circumference. Not far from it 
was a group of four splendid trees, two hundred and fifty feet 
high, which we named the " Four Pillars," each over fifty feet in 
circumference. Two gigantic trees, seventy-five and seventy-seven 
feet in circumference, were named " Washington" and " Lafay- 
ette ;" these were noble trees. Another group we called " The 
Graces," from their peculiar beauty. One mighty tree that had 
fallen by fire and burned out, into which we walked for a long 
distance, we found to be the abode of the grizzly ; there he had 
made his nest, and it excited the nerves to enter so dark an abode. 
Yet it was a fitting place for a grizzly. Another tree, measuring 
eighty feet, and standing aloof, was called the Lone Giant ; it 
went heavenward some three hundred feet. One monster tree 
that had fallen and been burned hollow, has been recently tried, 
by a party of our friends, riding, as they fashionably do, in the 
saddle, through the tunnel of the tree. These friends rode through 
this tree, a distance of one hundred and fifty-three feet. The tree 
had been long fallen, and measured, ere its bark was gone and its 
sides charred, over one hundred feet in circumference, and prob- 
ably three hundred and fifty feet in height. 

"The mightiest tree that has yet been found, now lies upon the 
ground, and, fallen as it lies, it is a wonder still ; it is charred, and 
time has stripped it of its heavy bark, and yet across the butt 
of the tree as it lay upturned, it measured thirty-three feet with- 
out its bark ; there can be no question that in its vigor, with its 
bark on, it was forty feet in diameter, or One hundred and twenty 
feet in circumference. Only about one hundred and fifty feet of 


the trunk remains, yet the cavity where it fell is still a large 
hollow beyond the portion burned off; and, upon pacing it, 
measuring from the root one hundred and twenty paces, and esti- 
mating the branches, this tree must have been four hundred feet 
high. We believe it to be the largest tree yet discovered." 

This grove of mammoth trees consists of about three hundred, 
more or less. It must not be supposed that these large taxodiums 
monopolize the one mile by a quarter of a mile of ground over 
which they are scattered ; as some of the tallest, largest, and 
most grac'eful of sugar pines and Douglass firs we ever saw, add 
their beauty of form and foliage to the group, and contribute much 
to the imposing grandeur of the effect. 


Crossing a low ridge to the south-westward of the large grove, 
is another small one, before alluded to, in which there are many 
fine trees. We measured one sturdy, gnarled old fellow, which, 
although badly burned, and- the bark almost gone, so that a large 
portion of its original size was lost, is, nevertheless, still ninety 
feet in circumference, and which w r e took the liberty of naming 
the " Grizzled Giant," 

An immense trunk lay stretched upon the ground, that meas- 
ured two hundred and sixty-four feet in length, although a con- 
siderable portion of its crown has been burned away. This was 
named by Mrs. J. C. Fremont, " King Arthur, the Prostrate 


Leaving the " South Grove," we struck across Big Creek and 
its branches, in a course almost due south, as near as the rugged, 
rock-bound mountain spurs would permit, in the direction of the 
Frezno group, some of whose majestic and feathery tops could be 
seen from the ridge we had left behind. 

Apparently, these trees were not more than six miles distant 
from the Mariposa Grove ; but which, owing to the trailless course 
we had to take, down and across the spurs of Big Creek, were not 


From Nature, ly G. Tirrel. 


less than ten miles. About six o'clock p. M., we arrived at the 
foot of some of the mammoth trees, that stood on the ridge, like 
sentinel guards to the grove. These were from fifty to sixty feet, 
only, in circumference. 

As the sun was fast sinking, we deemed it the most prudent 
course to look out for a good camping-ground. Fortunately, we 
discovered at first the only patch of grass to be found for several 
miles ; and, as we were making our way through the forest, feel- 
ing that most probably we were the first whites who had ever 
broken its profound solitudes, we heard a splashing sound,proceed- 
ing from the direction of the bright green we had seen. This, 
with the rustling of bushes, reminded us that we were invading 
the secluded home of the grizzly bear, and that good sport or danger 
would soon give variety to our employments. 

Hastily dismounting, and unsaddling our animals, we picketed 
them in the swampy grass-plat, still wet with the recent spirtings 
of several bears' feet that had hurriedly left it ; then kindling a 
fire, to indicate by its smoke the direction of our camp, we started 
quietly out on a bear hunt. 

Cautiously peering over a low ridge but a few yards from camp, 
we saw two large bears slowly moving away, when a slight sound 
from us arrested their attention and progress. Mr. Clark was 
about raising his rifle to fire, when we whispered "Hold, Mr. C., 
if you please let us have the first shot at that immense fellow 
there." "With pleasure," was the prompt response, and, at a 
distance of twenty-five yards, a heavy charge of pistol balls, from 
an excellent shot-gun, was poured into his body just behind the 
shoulder, when he made a plunge of a few feet, and, wheeling 
round, stood for a few moments as though debating in his own 
mind whether he should return the attack or retreat ; but a ball 
from the unerring rifle of our obliging guide determined him upon 
the latter bourse. The other had preceded him. 

We immediately started in pursuit ; and although their course 
could readily be followed by blood dropping from the wounds, a 
dense mass of chaparal prevented us from getting sight of either 
again, although we walked around upon the look-out until the 


darkness compelled us to return to camp, where, after supper, 
we were soon soundly sleeping. Early the next morning we fol- 
lowed up the divertissement for a few hours ; but meeting with 
no game larger than grouse, we commenced the exploration of the 

This consists of about five hundred trees of the taxodium family, 
on about as many acres of dense forest land, gently undulating. 
The two largest we could find measured eighty-one feet each in 
circumference, well formed, and straight from the ground to the 
top. The others, equally sound and straight, were from fifty-one 
feet to seventy-five feet in circumference. The sugar pines (Pinus 
lambertiana) were remarkably large ; one that was prostrate near 
our camp measured twenty-nine feet and six inches in circumfer- 
ence, and two hundred and thirty-seven feet in length. 

It ought here to be remarked, that Mr. L. A. Holmes and Judge 
Fitzhugh saw an extensive grove of much larger trees than these 
on the head-waters of the San Joaquin River, about twelve miles 
east of those on the Frezno ; but it has never been explored. 

All of these trees are precisely of the same genus and variety as 
those of Calaveras, and will abundantly reward visitors who spend 
a day or two here, on their way to the Yo-Semite Valley. 

There are no less than ten groves of these remarkable trees 
(Sequoia giganted) already discovered in California. The Calave. 
ras, containing about one hundred trees ; the great South Grove, 
having one thousand three hundred and eighty ; the South Tuo- 
lumne grove, thirty-one ; one unnamed, on the south side of 
the dividing ridge between the Tuoluinne and Merced rivers 
below Crane Flat, forty-two trees ; the Mariposa groves num- 
bering three hundred and sixty-five ; the Frezno, about five hun- 
dred ; the San Joaquin (estimated at) seven hundred ; the Kings 
and Kaweah River, belt of big trees extending for some ten miles, 
thought to contain thousands ; the North Tule River, and the 
South Tale River, the trees of which are scattered over several 
square miles. These last-named groves were discovered by Mr. 
T)' Ileureuse, of the State Geological Survey, in 1867. 








SIXTY-FIVE miles south of San Francisco, near the head of the 
beautiful and fertile valley of San Jose, and in an eastern spur of 
the Coast Range of mountains, is the quicksilver mine of New 

With your permission, kind reader, we will enter the railway 


train waiting in San Francisco, and, as the clock strikes eight, 
start at once on our journey. Lucky for us, it is a fine, bright 
morning, as the fog has cleared off, and left us (on a dew-making 
excursion, no doubt, up the country), and as we are to be fellow-, 
travellers, at least in imagination, and wisli to enjoy ourselves; let 
us say good-bye to our cares, as we did to our friends, and leave 
them with the city behind us. 

How refreshing to the brow is the breeze, and grateful to the 
eye is the beautiful green of the gardens, as we pass them, in the 
suburbs of the city, on our way. Even the hills in the distance 
are dotted with the dark green of the live oaks, and are beautiful 
by contrast. 

On, on, we go, shooting among hills, travelling through the 
valley, passing farms and wajHside houses,until we reach the flour- 
ishing old Mission of Santa Clara. Here we long to linger, and 
as we look upon the orchards laden with fruit, we wish to buy, 
beg, or steal, those cherry-cheeked and luscious-looking pears ; or 
take a walk amid the shadows of the old Mission church. But, 
leaving the railway, we here take the omnibus, when the signal, 
' all aboard," hurries us to our seats, and we soon enter an avenue 
of old willow and poplar trees, that extends from Santa Clara to 
San Jose, a distance of three miles, and which was planted by and 
for the convenience of the two Missions. What good, thoughtful 
souls those old padres were. We fear that due credit is not given 
them for the amount of civilization they introduced. On either 
side of this avenue, at intervals, there are tasteful cottages, flour- 
ishing farms, nurseries, and gardens, which are well supplied with 
water from artesian wells. 

Arriving in San Jose we find a neat and pleasant agricultural 
city, with all the temptations of fruit and flowers in great variety, 
and a brisk business activity observable in each department of 
business in the streets. One thing may impress us unfavorably 
here, viz. : the large number of members of the legal profession 
(thirty-seven, we believe) in so small a city. 

This fact brought to mind 



" An upper mill, and lower mill, 

Fell out about the water ; 
To war they went, that is to law, 

Resolved to give no quarter. 

" A lawyer was by each engaged, 

And hotly they contended ; 
When fees grew scant, the war they waged, 

They judged, 'twere better ended. 

"The heavy costs remaining still, 

Were settled without pother 
One lawyer took the upper mill, 

The lower mill the other." 

and it set us to ruminating. But let us jump into the easy 
coach in waiting, and we shall forget all that, and have a very 
pleasant ride of fourteen miles upon a good road, through an ever- 
green grove of live oaks, and past the broad shading branches of 
the sycamore trees, and in a couple of hours find ourselves drink- 
ing heartily of the delicious waters of the fine cool soda spring, at 
the romantic village of New Almaden. As we have passed 
through enough for one day, let us wait until morning, before 
climbing the hill to examine the mines. 


This mine has been known for ages by the Indians, who worked 
it for the vermilion paint that it contained, with which they 
ornamented their persons, and on that account had become a 
valuable article of exchange with other Indians, from the Gulf of 
California to the Columbia River. Its existence was also known 
among the early settlers of California, although none could esti- 
mate the character or value of the metal. 

In 1845 a captain of cavalry in the Mexican service, named 
Castillero, having met a tribe of Indians near Bodega, and seeing 
their faces painted with vermilion, obtained from them, for a 
reward, the necessary information of its locality, when he visited 
it, and having made many very interesting experiments, and deter- 





mined the character of the metal, he registered it in accordance 
with the Mexican custom, about the close of that year. 

A company was immediately formed, and the mine divided into 
twenty-four shares, when the company immediately commenced 
working it on a small scale ; but, being unable to carry it on for 
want of capital, in 1846 it was leased out to an English and Mexi- 
can company for the term of sixteen years ; the original company 
to receive one-quarter of the gross products for that time. In 
March, 1847, the new company commenced operations on a large 
scale, but finding that to pay one-fourth of the proceeds, and yet 
to bear all the expenses of working the mine, would incur a con- 
siderable loss, they eventually purchased out most of the original 

In June, 1850, this company had expended three hundred and 




eighty-seven thousand eight hundred dollars over and above all 
their receipts. During that year, a new process of smelting the 
ore was introduced by a blacksmith, named Baker, which suc- 
ceeded so well, that fourteen smelting furnaces have been erected 
by the company upon the same principle. 


The process of extracting the quicksilver from the cinnabar is 
very simple. The ore chamber ^B. is filled with cinna- 
bar, and covered securely up ; a fire is then kindled 
in the furnace at A, from which, through a perforated 
wall of brick, the heat enters the ore chamber and 
permeates the mass of ore, from which arises the 
quicksilver, in the shape of vapor, and, passing through 
the perforated wall on the opposite side, enters the 
condensing chambers at C, rising to the top of one, 
and falling to the bottom of the other, as indicated by 
the arrows, and as it passes through the condensing 
chambers (thirteen in number), it cools and becomes 
quicksilver. Should any vapor escape the last con- 
densing chamber, it passes over a cistern of cold water 
at D, where, from an enclosed pipe, water is scattered 


over a sieve, and falls upon and cools the vapor as it passes into 
the chimney, or funnel chamber, at E. 

The quicksilver then runs to the lower end of each condensing 
chamber, thence through a small pipe into a trough that extends 
from one end of the building to the other, where it enters a large 
circular caldron, from which it is weighed into flasks, in quantities 




of seventy-five pounds. To save time, one set of furnaces is gener- 
ally cooling and being filled, while the other is burning. 

Now, let us gradually ascend to the patio, or yard, in front of 
the mine, a visit to which has been so truthfully and beautifully 
described by Mrs. S. A. Downer, that we are tempted to introduce 
the reader to such good company. 


"At the right, was a deep ravine, through which flowed a 
brook, supplied by springs in the mountains, and which, in places, 
was completely hid by tangled masses of wild-wood, among which 
we discerned willows along its edge, with oak, sycamore, and 
buckeye. Although late in the summer, roses and convolvuli, 
with several varieties of floss, were in blossom ; with sweet-brier, 
honeysuckle, and various plants, many of which were unknown 
to us, not then in bloom, and which Nature, with prodigal hand, 
has strewn in bounteous profusion over every acre of the land. 
To the left of the mountain side, the wild gooseberry grows in 
abundance. The fruit is large and of good flavor, though of rough 
exterior. Wild oats, diversified with shrubs and live-oak, spread 


around us, till we reach the patio, nine hundred and forty feet 
above the base of the mountain. The road is something over a 
mile, although there are few persons who have travelled it on foot, 
under a burning sun, but would be willing to make their affidavits 
it was near five. 

" Let us pause and look around us. For a distance of many 
miles, nothing is seen but the tops of successive mountains ; then 
appears the beautiful valley of San Juan, while the Coast Range 
is lost in distance. The patio is an area of more than an acre in 
extent ; and still above us, but not directly in view, is a Mexican 
settlement, composed of the families and lodging-cabins of the 
miners. There is a store, and provisions are carried up on pack- 
mules, for retail among the miners, who may truly be said to live 
from hand to mouth. This point had been the resort of the 
aborigines, not only of this State, but from as far as the Columbia 
River, to obtain the paint (vermilion) found in the cinnabar, and 
which they used in the decoration of their persons. How long 
this had been known to them, cannot be ascertained ; probably a 
long time, for they had worked into the mountain some fifty or 
sixty feet, with what implements can only be conjectured. [Stones 
and pointed sticks. ED.] A quantity of round stones, evidently 
from the brook, were found in a passage, with a number of skele- 
tons ; the destruction of life having been caused, undoubtedly, by 
a sudden caving: in of the earth, burying: the unskilled savages in 

t/ O O 

the midst of their labors. It had been supposed for some time 
that the ore possibly contained the precious metals, but no regular 
assay was made till 1845 ; a gentleman now largely interested, 
procured a retort, not doubting that gold, or at least silver, would 
crown his efforts. Its real character was made known by its 
pernicious effects upon the system of the experimenter. The 
discovery was instantly communicated to a brother, a member of 
a wealthy firm in Mexico, who, with others, purchased the property, 
consisting of two leagues, held under a Spanish title, of the 
original owner. For some years but little was done. The ore 
proved both abundant and rich, but required the outlay of a vast 
amount of capital to be worked to advantage ; and while Nature, 



with more than her usual liberality, had furnished in the mountain 
itself all the accessories for the successful prosecution of her favors, 
man was too timid to avail himself of her gifts. 


"In 1850, a tunnel was commenced in the side of the moun- 
tain, in a line with the patio, and which has already been carried' 
to the distance of one thousand one hundred feet by ten -feet wide, 
and ten feet high to the crown of the arch, which is strongly 
roofed with heavy timber throughout its whole length. Through 
this the rail-track passes ; the car receiving the ore as it is brought 
on the backs of the carriers (tenateros) from the depths below, or 
from the heights above. The track being free, we will now take 
a seat on the car and enter the dark space. Not an object is 
visible save the faint torch-light at the extreme end ; and a chill- 
ing dampness seizes on the frame, so suddenly bereft of warmth 
and sunshine. This sensation does not continue as we descend 

into the subterranean caverns 
below ; and now commence the 
wonders as well as the dangers 
of the undertaking. By the light 
of a torch we pass through a damp 
passage of some length, a sud- 
den turn bringing us into a sort of 
vestibule, where, in a niche at 
one side, is placed a rude shrine 
of the tutelary saint, or protectress 
of the mine Nuestra Senora de 
Guadalupe, before which lighted 
candles are kept constantly burn- 
ing, and before entering upon the 
labors of the day or night, each 
man visits this shrine in devotion. 
You descend a perpendicular lad- 
der, formed by notches cut into 
a solid log, perhaps twelve feet ; 



then turn and pass a narrow corner, where a frightful gulf seems 
yawning to receive you. Carefully threading your way over the 
very narrowest of footholds, you turn into another passage black 
as night, to descend into a flight of steps formed in the side of the 
cave, tread over some loose stones, turn around, step over arches, 
down into another passage that leads into many dark and intricate 
windings and descendings, or chambers supported by but a column 
of earth ; now stepping this way, then that, twisting and turning, 
all tending down, dow r n to where, through the darkness of mid- 
night, one can discern the faint glimmer, which shines like Shak- 
speare's ' good deed in a naughty world,' and which it seems 
impossible one can ever reach. We were shown a map giving 
the subterranean topography of this mine ; and truly, the crossings 
and recrossings, the windings and intricacies of the labyrinthine 
passages, could only be compared to the streets of a dense city, 
while nothing short of the clue furnished Theseus by Ariadne, 
would insure the safe return, into day, of the unfortunate pilgrim 
who should enter without a guide. 

" The miners have named the different passages after their saints, 
and run them off as readily as we do the streets of a city ; and 
after exhausting the names of all the saints in the calendar, have 
commenced on different animals, one of which is not inaptly called 
El Elefante. Some idea of the extent and number of these pass- 
ages may be formed, when we state, that sixty pounds of candles 
are used by the workmen in the twenty-four hours. Another turn 
brings us upon some men at work. One stands upon a single 
plank placed high above us in an arch, and he is drilling into the 
rock above him for the purpose of placing a charge of powder. It 
appears very dangerous, yet we are told that no lives have ever 
been lost, and no more serious accidents have occurred than the 
bruising of a hand or limb, from carelessness in blasting. How 
he can maintain his equilibrium is a mystery to us, while with 
every thrust of the drill his strong chest heaves, and he gives 
utterance to a sound something between a grunt and a groan, 
which is supposed by them to facilitate their labor. Some six or 
eight men working in one spot, each keeping up his agonizing 



sound, awaken a keen sympathy. Were it only a cheerful sing- 
song, one could stand it ; but in that dismal place, their wizard- 
like forms and appearance, relieved but by the light of a single 
tallow candle stuck in the side of the rock, just sufficient to make 
' darkness visible,' is like opening to us the shades of Tartarus ; 
and the throes elicited from over-wrought human bone and muscle, 
sound like the anguish wrung from infernal spirits, who hope for 
no escape. 


"These men work in companies, one set by night, another by 
day, alternating week about. We inquired the average duration 
of life of the men who work under ground, and found that it did 
not exceed that of forty-five years, and the diseases to which they 
are mostly subject are those of the chest ; showing conclusively 
how essential light and air are to animal, as w^ell as vegetable life. 
With a sigh and a shudder we step aside to allow another set of 
laborers to pass. There they come ; up and up, from almost in- 
terminable depths, each one as he passes panting, puffing, and 
wheezing, like a high pressure steamboat, as with straining nerve 




and quivering muscle he staggers under the load, which nearly 
bends him double. These are the tenateros, carrying the ore from 
the mine to deposit it in the cars ; and, like the miners, they are bur- 
dened with no superfluous clothing. A shirt and trowsers, or the 
trowsers without a shirt, a pair of leathern sandals fastened at the 
ankle, with a felt cap, or the crown of an old hat, completes their 

" The ore is placed in a flat leather bag (talego] with a band two 
inches wide that passes around the forehead, the weight resting 
along the shoulders and spine. Two hundred pounds of rough 
ore are thus borne up, flight after flight, of perpendicular steps ; 


now winding through deep caverns, or threading the most tortu- 
ous passages ; again ascending over earth and loose stones, and 
up places that have not even an apology for steps, all the while 
lost in Cimmerian darkness, but for a torch borne aloft, which 
flings its sickly rays over the dismal abysm, showing that one un- 
wary step would plunge him beyond any possibility of human aid 
or succor. Not always, however, do they ascend; they some- 
times come from above ; yet we should judge the toil and danger 
to be nearly as great in one case as in the other. Thirty trips will 
these men make in one day, from the lowest depths. 

" For once we were disposed to quarrel with the long, loose skirts, 
that not only impeded our progress, but prevented our attempt to 
ascend to the summit, and enjoy from thence a prospect of great 
beauty and extent. But one woman, we believe, has ever accom- 
plished this feat, which, severely tasks the strength of manhood. 

"We will now follow ihetenateros, as they load the car with the 
contents of their sacks, and run after it into the open air. There 
they go, with shouts of laughter ; and really, as one emerges into 
the warm sunshine, the change is most inspiriting. They have 
reached the end of the track, and throw off the great lumps of ore 
without an effort, as if they were mere cabbages. What capacious 
chests, and how gaily they work ! Such gleeful activity we never 
before beheld. The large lumps deposited, they now seize shovels, 
and jumping on the cars, the small lumps mixed with earth are 
cleared off with the most astonishing celerity. Do but behold 
that fellow of Doric build, with brawny muscles, and who is a 
perfect fac simile of Hercules, as he stood engraved with his club, 
as we remember him in Bell or Tooke's Pantheon ! 

"The ore deposited on the patio, another set of laborers engage 
in separating the large lumps and reducing them to the size of 
common paving stones, which are placed by themselves. The 
smaller pieces are put in a separate pile, while the earth (tierra) is 
sifted through coarse sieves for the purpose of being made into 
adobes. There is also a blacksmith's shop for making and repair- 
ing implements. The miner is not paid by the day, but receives 
pay for the ore he extracts. They usually work in parties of from 


two to ten ; half the number work during the day, the other half 
by night, and in this manner serve as checks upon each other. 
Should a drone get into the number, complaint is made to the 
engineer, who has to settle such matters, which he generally does 
by placing him with a set nearer his capacity, or sometimes by a 
discharge. The price of the ore is settled by agreement for each 
week. Should the passage be more than commonly laborious, 
they do not earn much ; or if, on the contrary, it proves to be easy 
and of great richness, the gain is theirs ; it being not infrequent 
for them to make from thirty to forty dollars a week a-piece, and 
seldom less than fifteen. In those parts of the mine where the 
ore is worthless, but still has to be extracted in order to reach 
that which will pay, or to promote ventilation, they are paid by 
the square vara,* at a stipulated price. They do nothing with 
getting the ore to the patio ; this is done by the tenateros at the 
company's expense, as is also the separating, sifting, and weighing. 
Each party have their ore kept separate ; it is weighed twice a 
week and an account taken. They select one of their party who 
receives the pay and divides it among his fellows. 

" The tenateros receive three dollars per diem ; the sifters and 
weighers, two dollars and a half; blacksmiths and bricklayers, 
five and six ; while carpenters are paid the city price of eight 
dollars a day. These wages seem to be very just and liberal, yet, 
such is their improvidence, that no matter how much they earn, 
the miners are not one peso better off at the end of the month 
than they were at its beginning. No provision being made for 
sickness or age, when that time comes, as come it will, there is 
nothing for them to do but, like some worn-out old charger, lie 
down and die. This has reference exclusively to the Mexicans ; 
and it is a pity that a Savings Bank could not be established, and 
made popular among them. They number between two and 
three hundred in all ; but they are, perhaps, the most impractic- 
able people in the world, going on as their fathers did before them, 
firmly believing in the axiom, that ' sufficient unto the day is the 
evil thereof.' " 

* A vara is thirty-three and one-third inches. 


For some time this mine was closed by an injunction from the 
United States Court, but the difficulties being adjusted, it is now 
being worked with great success. 


Is the name of a newly opened quicksilver mine, situated in a 
beautiful and romantic valley on Guadalupe Creek, at the ex- 
treme western point of the same range of hills as that of New 
Almaden, and about four and a half miles from it. This mine 
was discovered in 1847, but was not attempted to be worked 
till 1850, when a company was formed and operations com- 
menced ; but, owing to the high price of labor and supplies, and 
the company running short of funds, after a few months, were 
suspended. In 1855, a new company was formed and incorporated 
by charter, from the legislature of Maryland, under the title of 
the " Santa Clara Mining Association, of Baltimore," with a suffi- 
cient working capital to open the mine, erect the necessary 
smelting works, and carry them on. 

" Yeins of quicksilver," writes a friend, " were long since known 
to exist in these hills, but, owing to the difficulty of finding 
sufficient quantities of ore to render mining remunerative, nothing 
of importance was attempted. In November, 1858, Mr. Laurencel 
employed a party of Irish and Mexican miners to prospect it 
more thoroughly, and several places were found to be of good 
promise, and opened. One was called the Providentia Mine, 
another was placed under the protection of Saint Patrick, and at 
length, in January, 1859, the present Henriquita mine was found 
and immediately opened. During the winter and spring quite 
a limited number of men carried on the work, but the labors of 
these few were sufficient to prove that there existed a large de- 
posit. In the beginning of June the work was advanced upon 
a larger scale, and preparations were made to put up the proper 
machinery for reducing the ore. Every thing was done with dis- 
patch, and on the spot where stood a forest in June, we saw now 
an establishment so far advanced as to promise to go into opera- 


tion, producing quicksilver, early in September ; good proof of 
the energy and activity of our California miners. 

"The system adopted for the reduction of ores is, I under- 
stand, the same that was employed by Dr. Ure, many years 
since, at the mines of Obermoschel, in the Bavarian Rhein 
Kreis, and which has proved to be much superior to the systems 
in practice at the Almaden mine in Spain, and the Idria mine of 

"What the production of this mine will be, is impossible to 
foresee ; but quite a little mountain of ore, already taken out, 
and what we saw in our descent into the mine, looks well for the 
future prospect. A large number of Mexican miners were at 
work, and as we passed their different parties, I broke from the 
rocky walls a number of pieces, which, on coming to the light of 
day, proved to be rich ore. 

" The location of the Henriquita mine is one of considerable 
beauty. A picturesque valley below, with the winding stream 
of the Capitancillos, and pleasant groves of oaks and sycamores, 
looks up on one hand to the hill where the mine is perched, 
some three hundred and forty or fifty feet above, and on the other 
to the rugged mountain, rising to the height of between three and 
four thousand feet. The mine employs about one hundred 
laborers of all classes ; the families added would make a total 
population already of about four hundred persons. A little 
village has sprung up near the works, containing many neat 
cottages, a hotel, and several stores. Two lines of stages run 
daily between the mine and the city of San Jose. 

" While here I visited also another spot of considerable interest 
a gigantic oak, standing upon a prominent spur of the moun- 
tains on the south. It measures some thirty-six feet in circum- 
ference, and is, I doubt not, the largest of its family in California. 
From its commanding position and size, it is visible at a great 
distance, still towering high, when all the trees around it are 
dwarfed into the appearance of mere underbrush. 

" In leaving the Henriquita mine, I was more than ever reminded 
of the immense mineral resources of our State, and of the industry 


of our people. Tlie works of years in older countries, were here 
the labor of a few short months only. 

' " The county of Santa Clara will find in this mine a new source 
of wealth, and must rejoice at the diligent prosecution of an enter- 
prise so important. As an old miner, I was gratified at what I 
saw. What the California miner needs is cheap quicksilver ; but, 
as long as its supply is limited, it is kept up at exorbitant prices. 
With an increased production and a healthy competition, we may 
expect 'soon to see it at such a price as will render it hereafter a 
small item only in the working of the quartz mines, so important 
a source of wealth and prosperity to California. 


"The interesting dedicatory ceremonial of Blessing the Mine is a 
custom of long standing in many Catholic countries, where mining 
is carried on, especially among those people who speak the Spanish 
language. Without it, workmen would feel a religious dread, and 
consequently a timid reluctance to enter upon their daily labors, 
lest some accidental mishap should overtake them from such an 
omission. After this has been duly performed, great care is taken 
to erect a shrine, be it ever so rude, at some convenient point 
within the mine, to some favorite tutelary saint or protectress, 
whose benediction they evoke. Before this shrine, each workman 
devoutly kneels, crosses himself, and repeats his Ave Maria, or 
Paternoster, prior to entering upon the duties and engagements 
of the day. At this spot, candles are kept burning, both by day 
and night, and the place is one of sacred awe to all good Catholics. 
The blessing and dedication of a mine is, consequently, an era of 
importance, and one not to be lightly passed over, or indifferently 

" On the morning of the day set apart for this ceremony, at the 
Henriquita or San Antonio quicksilver mine, the Mexican and 
Chilian senors and senoras began to flock into the little village at 
the foot of the canon, from all the surrounding country, in antici- 
pation of a general holiday, at an early hour. 

" Of course, at such a time, the proprietor sends out invitations 



to those guests he is particularly desirous should be present to do 

honor to the event ; but no such form is needed among the 

workmen and their friends or acquaintances, as they understand 
that the ceremony itself is a general invitation to 'all, and they 
avail themselves of it accordingly. 

" Arriving in procession at the entrance to the mine, Father 
Goetz, the Catholic curate*. of San Jose, performed mass, and 


formally blessed the mine, and all persons present, and all those 
who might work in it ; during which service a band of musicians 
was playing a number of airs. At the close, fire-crackers and the 
boom of a gun cut in the ground, announced the conclusion of the 
ceremony on the outside ; when they all repaired to the inside, 
where the Father proceeded to sprinkle holy water, and to bless it. 
" These duly performed, they repaired to the village, near which 
is the beautiful residence of Mr. Laurencel, its proprietor, where, 
in a lovely grove of sycamores, several tables were erected and 
bounteously covered with good things for the inner man. Here 
were feasted nearly two hundred guests, of both sexes, with choice 


viands, in magnificent profusion, while native wines, and other 
light potables, flowed in abundance. A large number of specially 
invited guests were at the same time hospitably and courteously 
entertained within the house by Mr. Laurencel, his lady, and her 
household. After dinner, there was music and dancing upon the 
green, exhibitions of skilful horsemanship, and a variety of amuse- 
ments, which were participated in by the assembled company 
with the utmost zest, and were kept up, we understand, until a 
late hour. The day chosen for this festival was the day of San 
Antonio, the patron saint of the mine, and the birthday of the 
little Henriquita, Mr. Laurencel's daughter, the more immediate 
patroness of the same." 




THIS isolated and lofty volcanic mountain is located in latitude 
41 30', and is the head and main source of the Sacramento, 
Shasta, and other streams. For many years it was considered the 
highest in California, and was estimated at 18,000 feet ; more re- 
cent measurements, however, make it only about 13,000 feet. 
Being alone, and unconnected with any great mountain chains of 
the State, it seems to be the culminating crest or starting point of 
an independent range. 

Covered with snow at all seasons ot the year the only one in 
the State that can be so considered it is one of those glorious and 


awe-inspiring scenes which greet the traveller's eye, and fill his 
mind with wondering admiration, as he journejs among the bold 
and beautiful mountains of our own California. One almost 
washes to kneel in worship as he gazes at the magnificent, snow- 
covered head and pine-girded base of this " monarch of moun- 
tains ;" and even as you ascend the valley of the Sacramento, 
Mount Shasta appears to you like a huge mountain of snow just 
beyond the purple hills of the horizon ; and is a constant land : 
mark upon which to look, and which one unconsciously feels him- 
self constrained to notice, as something even more remarkable 
and inviting than the green and flower-covered valley beside him. 


As we are favored with the following graphic sketch of an ascent 
alone by Israel S. Diehl, we shall allow him, without comment, 
to relate his interesting narrative : 

" The morning of the ninth of October, 1855, opened beautiful 
and bright ; the earth had been cooled by refreshing showers 
which had copiously fallen during the night, as I took up my line 
of march from Yreka to Mount Shasta, to make its ascent, if pos- 
sible. Notwithstanding the extensive arrangements by way of 
talk &nd promises, that were made by the company contemplating 
the same visit (alas! for California pleasure parties), when the 
eventful day came, I was reluctantly compelled to start on my 
journey alone, dependent upon circumstances for the social pleas- 
ures that add so much to such a romantic trip. No equipped 
and noted travellers, officers, literati, or blooming lively belles, 
whose merry, joyful laugh and bright countenances could add so 
much of interest, were my attendants ; and thus ' solitary and 
alone,' and somewhat fearful because of the stupendous and un- 
known undertaking, by any single traveller, I slowly, yet deter- 
minedly, set out upon my journey. 

" From the western side of Shasta Valley, Mount Shasta was in 
full view before me, in all its beauty and glory, as it reared its 
majestic head some seventeen thousand feet into the heavens, 
while its sides were covered with the deep-driven snow of ages, 


adding so much antiquity to the inspiring awe, as if to say, ' I am 
the mighty monarch and sentinel of this western coast,' and 
almost steadily did my unweary, wondering eyes gaze admiringly 
upon the scene before me hundreds of peaked little hillocks 
dotted the Shasta Valley for twenty-five miles around, like so 
many attendants (evidently all lesser volcanic formations), while 
the Shasta Eiver, and other smaller streams, clear as crystal, and 
icy cold, sprang from its side. 

" For a day and a half did I ride steadily on and around it, to 
make its ascent ; all the time with the mountain in full view, and 
apparently but a little way off, deceiving even the best eye on cal- 

" For two nights, ere my ascent, did I watch the setting sun, 
with its purple rays lingering and playing for twenty or thirty 
minutes around its brow, when, to all other mountains, the sun 
had set. That scene was beautiful beyond description. 

" By the noon of the second day, I had rounded the Mount to 
its south side, and fed my weary horse arid self at the beautiful 
Strawberry Valley Ranche, or Gordon's, after which, with indefinite 
and unsatisfactory directions, I bade adieu to every hope of seeing 
another person ere my fate became decided. Fearful accounts 
and warnings were given of grizzlies, California lions, avalanches, 
falling rocks and stones, with deep canon crevices, by and in 
which I might perish, and have no burial or resurrection until the 
' Resurrection Morn ;' but, unwilling to give up, and trusting in 
God, with a good horse, and a bag of provisions, I commenced 
the ascent. 

u For twelve or fifteen miles, I followed a blind snow trail through 
bushes of manzanita, and other obstacles, which almost threw me 
from my horse ; and would surely have torn my garments had I 
not been equipped with a good new suit of buckskin. After an 
arduous journey, I reached the upper edge of the belt of trees, and 
of the horse trail, but not until the sun had set. Night came on, 
rendering it too dark to find water for myself and animal until ten 
o'clock at night. 

" After much difficulty, a fire was kindled, (as the last matches 


were being used) to keep off the grizzlies and lions, but, unfor- 
tunately, from the scarcity of trees and the amount of dead wood 
lying around, I set fire to all about me. This drove me out, and 
excluded me altogether : so, making a shelter of my saddle and 
mochila, and wrapping myself in my saddle-blanket, I crept un- 
derneath them, covering my head and feet, saying, " Mr. Grizzly, 
you must take saddle and all, or none." Between shivering 
with cold, dozing, fearing, and dreaming, I awoke, and awaited 
the dawn of day. At last it came gladly to me when, after 
feeding my horse and bidding him adieu, I commenced the as- 

" On the east side of the west spur, and the south side of the 
mountain, there were vast quantities of clink and volcanic stones, 
and for four weary hours I never set my foot off broken stone, 
but up, up, up, over rocks and stones, till I reached the base of an 
almost perpendicular ledge of rocks, the so-called Red Bluffs, 
which I found to be indurated clay, colored by the peroxyd of 
iron. Through a little ravine I struggled on, on, climbing for one 
more painful hour, while large masses of rock, becoming loosened, 
went bounding to the awful abyss below. 

" After reaching what I thought the desired summit, imagine 
my surprise to look over fields of lava, scoria, snow, and fearful 
glaciers. I now had to cross ravines or fissures, from fifty to 
one hundred feet deep, and from one hundred to three hundred 
feet wide, and worn through a solid mass of conglomerates, and 
sometimes half filled with snow and ice, the ice lying in perfect 
ridges, resembling the waves on the ocean, and were both sharp and 
dangerous to cross. I slipped and fell several times, once coming 
near being dashed thousands of feet below. After ascending for 
another hour, among this strangely mingled mass, hoping again 
to have reached the long desired summit, I was both disappointed 
and pleased to see the table-land of snow from one-fourth to one- 
half mile in diameter, where it lay from one hundred to probably 
one thousand and more feet deep, as I could look down into fis- 
sures where it had sagged apart, for a fearful depth, and from this 
field, a few hundred feet from the summit, the Sacramento River 


takes its rise ; running through the deep gorges, sometimes on top, 
then hidden, then appearing at the summit of hills, then concealed 
for miles, it breaks forth in magnificent springs and miniature 
rivers, with sulphur and soda springs intermixed. 

" After crossing the field of ice with great difficulty, on account 
of the sun melting the snow from the east and south, while the 
wind and cold froze it from the west and north, thus rendering it 
dangerous, I reached another perfect mountain of loose and coarse 
lava, ashes, and other volcanic matter, through which I waded, 
although a foot in depth, for some distance ; and as I ascended, I 
caught a full and first view of the actual summit, which I imagine 
is not seen from below, as it is a perfectly bare crag or comb of 
rocks, while the sides and top around are so covered as to hide the 
real summit. Across another field of snow, and I was evidently 
upon the original and main crater, a concavity covering several 
acres, almost hemmed in by a considerable rim of rocks, and here I 
came upon the long sought hot and sulphur springs ; and here, 
free from wind and snow, finding it warm and comfortable after 
being nearly benumbed with cold, I warmed, and took a hasty 
meal ; and in my haste to warm my fingers, nearly lost them by 
awfully scalding them. 

" I spent nearly an hour here, contemplating and watching this 
wonderful view. A hundred little boiling springs were gurgling 
and bubbling up through a bed of sulphur, and emitting steam 
enough to drive a small factory (if well applied), while all around 
lay the everlasting snow. 

" After resting, I made the final summit, a few hundred feet 
above, composed of a perfect edge or comb of rocks, running 
nearly north and south, and from this summit, perhaps the 
highest, variously estimated at from sixteen thousand five hun- 
dred, to seventeen thousand five hundred feet, and decidedly the 
most magnificent of our Union, if not of the continent, I could 
look around and see ' all the kingdoms of this lower world,' [Did 
you tempt any one, Mr. Diehl ?] 

" Looking to the westward, far beyond the Scott, Trinity, Siski- 
you, and Coast Range of mountains, I imagined I saw the proud 


Pacific. Northward, looking far over into Oregon, one could see 
her peaks, her vallies, and lakes, to the Dalles, and what I took to 
be Mount Hood. East, far over the Sierras into Utah, and the 
deserts, while beautiful lakes lay like bright meadows, far in the 
distance. South, I could trace the Sacramento and Pitt Rivers, 
far below Shasta, where they were lost in the smoke and haze, but 
on the south-west I could clearly see Mount Linn, Mount St. John, 
and Ripley, and above the haze, could distinctly see the Marys- 
ville Buttes, if not the top of Mount Diablo (as I have clearly seen 
Mount Shasta from the summit of Mount Diablo). South-east, I 
could trail the Sierras by the Lassen, Spanish, Pilot, Seventy-six, 
Downieville, and other peaks, to the range below Lake Bigler, or 
to Carson Yalley. 

" I contemplated the unsurpassed scenery presented to my eye, 
for hours. The day was clear and beautiful, after our first October 
rains, while the scenery was delightful beyond description. And 
upon that peak I planted the temperance banner, side by side 
with the American flag (placed there in 1852, by Captain Prince), 
deposited some California papers and documents in the rocks, for 
safe keeping, as the papers carried up in 1852 were unharmed, 
and fresh as ever. Then, with a great reluctance, notwithstanding 
the wind, cold, loneliness, and coming night, I was compelled to 
beat a descent. 

" The sun was fast declining. My watch told three p. M., when 
I collected my minerals, sulphurs, and all objects of interest, for a 
future and fuller description, and bidding adieu to the magnificent 
sights, with a promise of a return some day, I commenced the 
descent, and in three hours' running, jumping, tumbling, sliding 
on the snow, from one-fourth to one-half a mile at a time, in a few 
moments having a glorious time, easier by far, and fuller of enjoy- 
ment than the ascent I found my horse, mounted, and hastened 
away ; and after a concatenation of circumstances, lost and bewil- 
dered, at twelve at night, dismounted, unsaddled and loosed my 
horse ; weary and exhausted, nature gave way, sleep conquered, 
and until dawn of day, I knew no trouble save the piercing cold, 
and woke to find my trusty horse missing, giving me a half day's 


hunt to recapture him, when, by perils by river, land, and Indians, 
I followed the Sacramento down one hundred miles to 1 Shasta, to 
spend the Sabbath, after six days' labor much better and hap- 
pier for my ascent of Mount Shasta." 






THIS is the name of a small group of rocky islands, lying in the 
Pacific Ocean, about twenty-seven miles west of the Golden Gate, 
and thirty-five miles from San Francisco. These islands have 
become of some importance, and of considerable interest, on 
account of the vast quantity of eggs that are there annually 
gathered, for the California market ; these eggs having become 


an almost indispensable article of spring and summer consumption, 
to many persons. 

By the courtesy of the Farallone Egg Company, through their 
President, Captain Richardson, the schooner Louise, Captain 
Harlow, was placed at our service, for the purpose of visiting 
them ; and, in company with a small party of friends, we were 
soon upon the deep green brine, ploughing our way to the " Isles 
of the Ocean." 

Bright and beautiful slept the morning, as a light breeze, 
blowing gently from the mountains, filled our sails, and sped us on 
our way through 


There are probably but few persons, comparatively, who have 
ever passed through this entrance to the fine Bay of San Francisco, 
that are familiar with the origin and meaning of the name, the 
popular idea being that its name was suggested by the staple 
mineral of the country gold. This is incorrect, as it was called 
"The Golden Gate" before the precious metal w T as discovered; 
and the first time that it was used, most probably, was in a work 
entitled " A Geographical Eeview of California," with a relative 
map, published in New York, in the month of February, 1848, by 
Colonel J. C. Fremont ; and as gold was discovered on the 19th 
of January preceding, in those days it would have been next to 
impossible for the news to have reached the office of publication 
of that work, in time for the name to be given, from such a cause. 

The real origin of the name was from the excessively fertile 
lands of the interior especially of those adjacent to the Bay of 
San Francisco. There may have been some " Spiritual Telegrams" 
sent from California (!) to the parent of the name, telling him of 
the glorious dawn of a Golden Day that had broke upon the world 
at Slitter's Mill, Coloma, and that such a name would be the 
magic charm to millions of men and women in every quarter of 
the world, in the Golden Age about to be inaugurated. We do 
not say that it was so. We do not wish the reader to beliere it, 
as our opinion, that it was thus originated ; but in this age of 



spiritual darkness we allude to the limited knowledge of mental 
phenomena we start the supposition, in hope that it may stir up 
the spirit of inquiry. This one thing is certain, that from 
whatever source the name "Golden Gate" may have originated, 
it was most happily suggestive in its character. Having dwelt at 
some length upon the name, we will now more briefly describe 
the spot. 

That it is the gateway or entrance to the magnificent harbor of 
San Francisco, every one is well aware. The centre of this 
entrance is in longitude 122 30' "W. from Greenwich. On the 
south of the entrance, is Point Lobos (Wolves' Point), on the top 
of which is a telegraph station, from whence the tidings of the 
arrival of steamers and sailing vessels are sent to the city. On 
the north side, is Point Bonita (Beautiful Point), readily recognized 
by a strip of land running out toward the bar, on the top of 
which is a light-house, tlrat is seen far out to sea, on a clear day, 



but seldom before that on the Farallone Islands, some twenty-seven 
miles west of Point Bonita. 

In front of the entrance is a low, circular sand-bar, almost seven 
miles in length, but on which is sufficient water, even at low tide, 
to admit of the largest class of ships crossing it in safety except, 
possibly, when the wind is blowing from the north-west, west, or 
south-east ; at such a time, it is scarcely safe for a very large 
vessel to cross it at low tide. 

From Point Bonita to Point Lobos, the distance is about three 
and a half miles ; and between Fort Point and Lime Point (just 
opposite each other), the narrowest part of the channel, and " The 
Golden Gate" proper, it is one thousand .seven hundred, and 
seventy-seven yards. Here the tide ebbs and flows at the rate 1 of 
about six knots an hour. 


To the dwellers of. a seaport city, there is music in the ever 
restless waves, as they murmur and break upon the shore ; but to 
sail upon the broad, heaving bosom of the ocean, gives an impres- 
sion of profoundness and majesty, that, by contrast, becomes a 
source of peaceful pleasure ; as change becomes rest to the weary. 
There is a vastness. around, above, beneath you, as w r ave after 
wave, and swell after swell, lifts your tiny vessel upon its seething 
surface, as though it were a feather a floating atom upon the 
broad expanse of waters. Then, to look into its shadowy depth, 
and feel the sublime language of the Psalmist : " O Lord, how 
manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all : the 
earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein 
are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. 
These wait all upon Thee : that Thou mayest give them their meat 
in due season. Thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good. 
Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled." " They that go down 
to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters : these see the 
works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. He commandeth, 
and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still." 



" Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, for his 
wonderful works to the children of men ! " 

Object after object became distant and less, as we left them far, 
far behind us. 

" Yonder blows a whale ! " cries one. 


"Just off our larboard bow." 

"Oh! I see it but" 

" But ! what's the matter ? " 

" Oh ! I feel so sea-sick." 

"Well, never mind that; look up, and don't think about it." 

" Oh I can't I must" 

Header, were you ever sea-sick ? If your experience enables 
you to answer in the affirmative, you will sympathize somewhat 
with the poor subject of it. Yonder may be this beauty, and that 

/ / / ; : i i 


wonder, but a " dorSt-c&YQishness " comes over you, and if all the 
remarkable scenes in creation were just before you, "I don't care" 



is written upon the face, as you beseechingly seem to say: "Pray 
don't trouble me my hands are full" Whales, sea-gulls, por- 
poises, and even the white, foamy sprayj that is curling over 
Duxbury Reef, are alike unheeded. 

" How are you now ?" kindly asks our good-natured captain, 
of the one and the other. 

" Ah ! thank you ; I am better." 

" Here, take a cup of nice hot coffee." 

"No; I thank you." 

The mere mention of any thing to eat or drink is only the signal 
for a renewal of the sickness. 

" Thank goodness ! I feel better," says one, after a long spell 
of sickness and quiet. 

" So do I," says another ; and, just as the " Farallones" are in 
sight, fortunately, all are better. 


Now the air is literally filled with birds birds floating above us, 
and birds all around us, like bees that are swarming, we thought 


the whole group of islands must have been deserted, and that 
they had poured down in myriads, on purpose to intercept our 
landing, or "bluff us off;" but, as the dark, weather-beaten fur- 
rows, and the wave-washed chasms, and the wind-swept masses 
of rock, rose more defined and distinct before us as we approached, 
we concluded that they must have abandoned the undertaking 
for upon every peak sat a bird, and in every hollow a thousand ; 
but, looking around us again, the number, apparently, had in- 
creased rather than diminished, and the more there seemed to be 
upon the islands the greater the increase round about us so that 
we concluded our fears to be entirely unfounded. 

The anchor is dropped in a mass of floating foam, 011 the south- 
east and sheltered side of the islands, and in a small boat we reach 
the shore, thankful, after this short voyage, to feel our feet stand- 
ing firmly on terra firma. 


Looking at the wonders on every side, we were astonished that 
we had heard so little about them, and that a group of islands 
like these should lie within a few hours' sail of San Francisco, yet 
not be the resort of nearly every seeker of pleasure, and every 
lover of the wonderful. 

It is like one vast menagerie. Upon the rocks adjacent to the 
sea repose in easy indifference, thousands yes, thousands of sea 
lions (one species of the seal), that weigh from two to five thousand 
pounds each. As these made the loudest noise, and to us were 
the most curious, we paid them the first visit. When we were 
within a few yards of them the majority took to the water, while 
two or three of the oldest and largest remained upon the rock, 
" standing guard" over the young calves, that were either at play 
with each other, or asleep at their side. As we advanced, these 
masses of "blubber" moved slowly and clumsily toward us, with 
their mouths open, and showing two large tusks that were stand- 
ing out from their lower jaw, by which they gave us to under- 
stand that we had better not disturb the repose of the juvenile 
" lions," nor approach too near, or we might receive more harm 



than we expected or wished. But the moment we threw at them 
a stone, they would scamper off, and leave the young lions to the 
mercy of their enemies. We advanced and took hold of one, to 
try if the sight of their young being taken away would tempt them 

to come to the rescue ; but, although they roared and kept swim- 
ming close to the rock, they evidently thought their own safety of 
the most importance. One old warrior, whose head and front 
bore scars of many a hard-fought battle for they fight fearfully 
among themselves could not be driven from the field, and neither 
rocks nor shouting moved him in the least, except to meet the 
enemy, as he doubtless considered us. 

All of these animals are very jealous of their particular rock, 
where, in the sun, they take their siesta, and although we remained 
upon some of these spots for a considerable length of time, while 
their usual tenants were swimming in. the sea, and perhaps had 



become somewhat uneasy, they were not allowed to land on the 
.territory of another. 


They keep Tip an incessant short, moaning cry, that sounds like 
yoi hoey, yoi hoey, in about the same key as the bray of a mule. 

Most of these young seals are of a dark mouse color, but the old 
ones are of a light and brightish brown about the head, and grad- 
ually become darker toward the extremities, which are about the 
same color as the young calves. Most of the male and young fe- 
male seals leave these islands during the months of October or 


November and generally all go at once returning in April or 
May the following spring, while the older females remain here 
nearly alone throughout the winter a rather ungallant proceed- 
ing on the part of the males. 


There are several different kinds of seal that pay a short visit 
here at different seasons of the year, one of the most beautiful of 
which is the hair seal of the Pacific (Phoco jitbata). 


This seal, with which the coast of California abounds, is by no 
means rare, as almost all the coasts in high southern and northern 
latitudes abound with it. u To the Laplander, it is meat, drink, 
clothing, etc. To the Indians of Behring's Straits and Kamschatka 
it is most valuable ; in fact, they could hardly exist without it. 
Far away in those inhospitable regions, where winter reigns three- 
fourths of the year, no timber can be obtained sufficiently large 
to build a canoe ; but with a few seal-skins and a little whale- 
bone, the Indian will construct one of the most perfect life-boats 
in the world. In this he will fearlessly venture miles from land 
to catch fish and seals, aye, and even the whale. These canoes 
are difficult to manage to those who are unacquainted with them. 
It requires no small degree of practice, even to the Kamschatkan, 
in a rough sea, to keep such a boat alive. He is not allowed to 
marry unless he have the ability of so making and guiding 
them. Indeed, his canoe is all to him his house, his clothes, his 


furniture, his food -for without it,his shores, prolific in fish, would 
be useless. 

"Its countenance bears the impress of great sagacity; its full, 
round, beautiful eye indicates even an intelligence rarely to be 
found in any other inhabitant of the waters. This was remarked 
by the ancient historian, Pliny. He gives an amusing account of 
one that was easily taught to perform certain tricks. It would 
sjalute visitors freely, and would answer to its name when called. 
F. Cuvier narrates of one that he saw that was made to stand 
erect on its tail, and hold a staff between its flippers' like a senti- 
nel on duty. It would tumble heels over head when desired, give 
a flipper to be shaken, and present its lips for its keeper's kiss. 

"Captain Russell, the assiduous traveller and explorer of the sea- 
board resources of California, informed us that it is most amusing 
sometimes to see their contests with the Coast Indians. These 
fellows skulk behind .the rocks adjacent to some gently-sloping 
sand-banks, and when the shoal has become dry by the receding 
tide, they front the body and interpose their return to the water, 
each selecting as his prey the biggest and most powerful. Catch- 
ing hold of the tail-flipper, the animal scuffles along the sand, 
dragging along after him the Indian, who, with a tight grip, fol- 
lows, until, by ploughing a deep furrow with his feet, leaning 
back, and with all his strength resisting the powerful progress of 
the animal, until both come to a dead stand ; the animal's side- 
flippers are then tied by another party, and the poor beast thus 
easily becomes his prey. He often, he says, remonstrated in vain 
against their barbarous cruelty of preparing them for food, or for 
blubber. A huge fire is made in a large flat hole in the ground, 
and the poor beasts are hurled in and roasted alive. " We have 
no other way," said they, "of singeing or scorching off the hair. 
If they were put in dead, we should have to get in the fire ourselves 
to turn them, but being alive, they spare us the trouble, and turn 
themselves, when one side is singed sufficiently." 

" The whole tribe possesses remarkable peculiarities of respiration 
and circulation of blood. The interval between their respirations 
is very long. A full-grown animal can remain under water, with- 


out requiring a fresh inspiration, for upwards of half an hour. The y 
can open and close at pleasure, for these purposes, their valvular nos- 
trils in a surprising degree, eating their food all the time underwater 
with perfect enjoyment. Their breathing is remarkably slow, and 
very irregular. After opening the nostrils and making a long ex- 
piration, the creature inhales air by a long inspiration, and just 
before diving, closes its nostrils as tight as any mechanical valve. 
In confinement, they have been observed to remain asleep, with 
the head under water, for an hour at each time, without any fresh 
inhalation of air. Naturalists account for this power by the ani- 
mal's possessing a great venous canal in its liver, which assists it 
in diving, so that their respiration is somewhat independent of the 
circulation of the blood. 

"One of these animals was exhibited in Adams' Museum, San 
Francisco, and was in excellent condition, exceedingly tame, and 
very submissive to its "keeper. It seemed to enjoy the music, 
appearing to listen to it with some pleasure. ' This is not to be 
wondered at, as the hearing of this class of animals is very acute ; 
and well attested instances are by no means rare, of many, even 
in a wild state, being attracted by the sound of a flute, or a horn; 
rising up to the surface to enjoy it the more, and sinking imme- 
diately the sounds are discontinued. The brain in the seal is very 
large, and its whiskers are connected with nerves of immense 
size, serving almost every purpose of sensation." 

The Russians formerly visited these islands, for the purpose of 
obtaining oil and skins, and several places can be yet seen where 
the skins were stretched and dried. 


The birds which are by far the most numerous, and, on. account 
of their eggs, the most important, are the Murre, or Foolish Guil- 
lemot^ which are found here in myriads, surmounting every rocky 
peak, and occupying every small and partially level spot upon the 
islands. Here it lays its egg, upon the bare rock, and never leaves 
it, unless driven off, until it is hatched ; the male taking its turn, 
at incubation, with the female although the latter is most assid- 




uous. One reason why this may be the case, perhaps, is from the 
fact that the gull is watching every opportunity to steal its egg 
and eat it. The " eggers" say that when they are on their way to 
any part of the island, the gulls call to each other, and hover 
around until the murre is disturbed by them, and before they can 
pick up the egg, the gull sweeps down upon it, and carries it off. 

When the young are old enough to emigrate, the murres take 
them away in the night, lest the gulls should eat them ; and as 
soon as the young reach the water, they swim at once. Some 
idea may be formed of the number of these birds, by the Faral- 
lone Egg Company having, since 1850, brought to the San Fran- 
cisco market between three and four millions of eggs. 

On this coast these birds are numerous, in certain localities, from 
Panama to the Russian possessions. On the Atlantic, they are 
found from Boston to the coast of Labrador ; differing but very 
little in color, shape, or size. 




It is a clumsy bird, almost helpless on land, but is at home on 
the sea, and is an excellent swimmer and diver, and is very strong 
in the wings. Their eggs are unaccountably large, for the size of 
the bird, and " afford excellent food, being highly nutritive and 
palatable whether boiled, roasted, poached, or in omelets." "No 
two eggs are in color alike. 



The bird of most varied and beautiful plumage, on the islands, 
is the Mormon Cirrhatus, or Tufted Puffin and, although they 
are rather numerous on this coast, they are very scarce elsewhere. 

In addition to the murre, puffin, and gull, already mentioned, 
there are pigeons, hawks, shag, coots, etc., which visit here 
during the summer, but, with the exception of the gull and 
shag, do not remain through the winter. 

The horned-billed guillemot has been seen and caught here, 
but it is exceedingly rare. 

Now, with the reader's permission, we will leave the birds and 
animals at least if we can and take a walk up to the lighthouse, 
at the top of the island, three hundred and fifty-seven feet above 
the sea. A good pathway has been made, so that we can ascend 
with ease. If you find that we have not left the birds, nor the 
birds left us, but that, at every step we take, we disturb some, and 
pass others, and that thousands are flying all around us, never 
mind when we reach the top we shall forget them, at least for a 
few moments, to strain our eyes in looking toward the horizon, 
and seeking to catch a glimpse of some distant object. Yonder, 
some eight miles distant, are the " North Earallones," a very 
small group of rocks, and not exceeding three acres in extent 
but, like this, they are covered with birds. 

Now let us enter the lighthouse, and, under the guidance of 
Mr. Wines, the superintendent, we shall find our time well spent 
in looking at the best lighthouse on the Pacific coast. Every thing 
is bright and clean, its machinery in beautiful order, and working 
as regular in its movements as a chronometer. 

The wind blows fresh outside, and secretly you hope the light- 
house will not blow over before you get out. Here, too, you can 
see the shape of the island upon which you stand, mapped out 
upon the sea below. 

Let us descend, wend our way to the " West End," and pass 
through the living masses of birds, that stand, like regiments of 
white-breasted miniature soldiers, on every hand and it might 
be well to take the precautionary measure of closing our ears to 
the perpetual roaring, and loud moaning of the sea lions, for their 



noise is almost deafening. A caravan of wild beasts is nothing, 
in noise, to these. 

Let us be careful, too, in every step that we take, or we shall 
place our foot upon a nest of young gulls, or break eggs by. the 
dozen, for they are everywhere around us. "We scon reach the 
side of the " Jordan," as a small inlet is called, and across which 
we can step at low tide, but which is thirty feet wide at high 
water. To cross it, however, a rope and pulley is your mode of 
conveyance ; so hold tight by your hands, and you'll soon get 
across. Safely over, let us make our way for a glimpse of the 
West End View, looking East. 


This is a wild and beautiful scene. The sharp-pointed rocks 
are standing boldly out against the sky, and covered with birds 
and sea lions. A heavy surf is rolling in, with thundering 
hoarseness, and as the wild waters break upon the shore, they 
resemble the low r , booming sound of distant thunder ; while the 
white spray curls over, and falls with a hissing splash upon the 

rocks, and then returns a^ain to its native brine ; while, swimming 


in the boiling sea, amid the foam and rocks, just peering above 
the water, are the heads of scores of sea lions. Let iis watch them 
for a moment. Here comes one noble looking old fellow, who 
rises from the water, and works his way, slowly and clumsily, 
toward the young which lie high and dry, sleeping in the sun, or 
are engaged lazily scratching themselves with their hind claws ; 
and, although we are very near them, they lie quite unconcerned, 
and innocent of danger. !Nbt so the old gentleman, who has just 
taken his position before us, as sentry. Experience has doubtless 
taught him that such looking animals as we are behave no better 
than we should do, and he knows it ! 

There are water-washed caves, and deep fissures between the 
rocks, just at our right ; and in the distance is a large arch, not 
less than sixty feet in height, its top and sides completely covered 
with birds. Through the arch, you can see a ship, which is just 

!N"ow let us go to the " Big Rookery," lying 011 the north- west 
side of the island. 

This locality derives its name from the island here forming a 
hollow, well protected from the winds ; and being less abrupt than 
other places, is on that account a favorite resort of myriads of sea 
fowl, who make this their place of abode, and where vast numbers 
of young are raised. If -you walk among them, thousands im- 
mediately rise, and for a few moments darken the air, as though 
a heavy cloud had just crossed and obscured the sunlight upon 
your path. But few persons who have not seen them can realize 
the vast numbers that make this their home, and which are here, 
there, and everywhere, flying, sitting, and even swimming, upon 
the boiling and white-topped surge among the seals. 

Here, as elsewhere, there are thousands of seals, some are suck- 
ling their calves, some are lazily sleeping in the sun, others are 
fishing, some are quarrelling, others are disputing possession, and 
yonder, just before tis, two large and fierce old fellows are engaged 
in direful combat with each other now the long tusks of the one 
are moving upward to try to make an entrance beneath the jaw 
of the other now they are below now there is a scattering 



among the swimming group that have merely been looking on to 
see the sport, for the largest has just come up among them, and 
they are afraid of him. Now appears his antagonist, his eyes 
rolling with maddened frenzy, they again meet now under, now 
over fierce wages the war, hard goes the battle, but at last the 
owner of the head, already covered with scales, has conquered, 
and his discomfitted enemy makes his way to the nearest rock, and 
there lies panting and bleeding ; but he may not rest here, for the 
owner of that claim is at home and has possession, and without 
any sympathy for his suffering and unfortunate brother, he orders 
him off, although "only a squatter," and he again takes to the sea 
in search of other quarters. 

From this point we get an excellent view of the lighthouse, and 
the residence of the keepers. Everywhere there is beauty, wild- 
ness, sublimity. Let us not linger too long here, although weeks 
could be profitably spent in looking at the wonders around us, but 
let us take a hasty glance at the View from the North Landing. 



Here there is a fine estuary, where, with a little improvement, 
small schooners can enter at any season of the year, and where 
the oil and other supplies are landed for the lighthouse. Like the 
other views, it is singular and wild each eminence covered with 
birds, each sea-washed rock occupied by seals, and the air almost 
darkened by the sea gulls skimming backward and forward, like 
swallows, and by the rapid and apparently difficult flight of the 

From this point we can get an excellent view of the North 
FaralloneS) that, in the dim and shadowy distance, are looming 
up their dull peaks just above the restless and swelling waves. 
From the sugar-loaf shaped peak, and the singularly high arch, 
and bold, rugged outlines of the other rocks, this view has become 
a favorite one with the " eggers." 

Upon these islands, of three hundred and fifty acres, there is not 
a single tree or shrub to relieve the eye by contrast, or give 
change to the barrenness of the landscape. A few weeds and 
sprigs of wild mustard are the only signs of vegetable life to be 
seen upon them. To those who reside here it must be monotonous 
and dull ; but to those who visit it, there is a variety of wild won- 
ders that amply repays them for their trouble. 

Some Italian fishermen having supplied our cook with excellent 
fish, let us hasten aboard and make sail for home. 

Before saying " good-bye" to our kind entertainers, and again 
leaving them to the solitary loneliness of a " life near the sea," we 
will congratulate them upon their useful employment, and ask 
them to remember the comforting joy they must give to the tem- 
pest-tossed mariner, who sees, in the " light afar," the welcome 
sentinel, ever standing near the gate of entrance to the long 
wished and hoped-for port, w^here, for a time, in enjoyment and 
rest, he can recover from the hardships and forget the perils of 
the sea. 

On our left, and but a few yards from shore, is an isle called 
Seal Rock, where the sea lions have possession, and are 
waving their lubberly bodies to and fro upon its very summit, and 
from whence the echoes of their low howling moans are heard 


across the sea, long after distance lias hidden them from our 

After a pleasant run of five hours, without any sea-sickness, we 
are again walking the streets of San Francisco, abundantly satis- 
fied that our trip was exceedingly pleasant and instructive. 


From a Photograph by Hamilton & Co. 



SAN FRANCISCO,* approached from the sea or from the northern 
portion of the bay, does not present an attractive appearance to 
the stranger. At night, to be sure, when the broken heights are 
dotted with sparkling lights, and the mysterious and vague en- 
chantment of mingled darkness and light is cast over the picture, 

* For most of this chapter we are indebted to the kindness of Noah Brooks, Esq., 
of San Francisco. 


there is something to charm the eager tourist in the vagueness 
and indistinctness of the glimpse, which lie has of the far-famed 
city. But hy day, when the pitiless sun pours its broad rays upon 
the rough, sandy promontory on which San Francisco lies rudely 
scattered, the picture is unpleasing and almost invariably disap- 
pointing. The hills are sandy and dry, and are dotted or covered 
with houses, not always neat, and seldom elegant. That part of 
the city which is first seen as one approaches it from the Golden 
Gate, or from the north, is ragged with straggling wooden struc- 
tures, destitute of foliage and forbidding in the extreme. It is 
not until one reaches the city front and gains some near views of 
the more tasteful architecture of the business part of the city, 
that the impression of newness and ragnedness is removed. Dur- 
ing the dry season the hills which surround the bay are brown 
and tawny, the sky is staring in its utter blue cloudlessness, and 
the general aspect of the scene is uninviting. 

Closer acquaintance with the city, with its pleasant homes, its 
lovely gardens, and its really elegant private residences removes 
much of this unfavorable first impression, but the main facts of 
its roughly repelling appearance remain. As above intimated, 
there are many attractive homes in San Francisco, and the mild- 
ness of the climate is attested by the perennial flowering of many 
delicate shrubs and plants, almost unknown in the eastern States. 
Geraniums, fuschias, heliotropes, verbenas, passion-flowers, jessa- 
mines, roses, and a wealth of flowers which bloom only with re- 
luctance and during a short interval in most of the older States, 
are here found in constant perfection, and the city conceals 
among the sandy hills, which the traveller by sea views disgust- 
fully from the sea, many gardens which are emphatically " gar- 
dens of delight," these make San Francisco attractive. 


On the seaward side of the promontory of San Francisco, at the 
base of a bold cliff, are the famous Seal Rocks; as this locality is 
one of the very first to which the favored stranger is taken by 
his hospitable friends, one may be pardoned for placing it at 


the head of the brief list of sights to be seen in and around San 
Francisco. There are several roads leading to the sea beach, and 
the Rocks, but the most frequented is the turnpike which forms 
an extension of Geary Street, passing out between Lone Mountain, 
and Laurel Hill Cemetery. On the right is the cemetery where 
rest the ashes of most of the dead of San Francisco, their monu- 
ments gleaming white in the sun. Conspicuous among these is 
the tall obelisk which marks the grave of Broderick ; of Thomas 
Starr King; the monumental work erected at the burial-place of 
Baker General, Senator, and Orator is near this point : besides 
those of many others whose life and labors were a blessing to the 
State. On the left of the road rises the conical peak of Lone 
Mountain, surmounted by a cross, which is seen far out at sea ; 
and scattered near the base are several cemeteries in charge of 
benevolent associations, and Calvary Cemetery, the largest of all, 
stretches well up its slope. The road is firm, hard, and smooth as 
a floor, with gen le undulations whose successive rises enable the 
tourist and pleasure-seeker to catch occasional glimpses of the 
bay and of the Golden Gate. Half-way out from Lone Moun- 
tain is a fine view of this opening toward the sea, with the bold 
precipitous cliffs which line the northward side of the Gate, just 
veiled enough by the dimness of the distance to cover the bare- 
ness of their seamed faces ; and beyond these rise the rounded 
outlines of the hills which lead to Tamal Pais, whose sharp peak, 
bristling with pines is sharply projected against the sky beyond. 
The road is filled with vehicles of every description, on every 
pleasant day, especially on Saturdays, when the half-holiday 
which most business men take is well improved. The invigora- 
ting air, the excitement of the drive, and the mere absence from 
the dusty city, all serve to make this brisk trot along the well- 
kept road, a pleasure worth enjoying and remembering. Here 
are conveyances of every description, from the showy equipage 
of some prosperous citizen, to the humble light-wagon of less pre- 
tentious people, who, with children and family, are out for a sniff 
of pure air, a look at the sea-lions and a sight at the stream of 
people who come and go ; for a drive to " the cliff" is one of the 


institutions of San Francisco, which all must see, whether he go 
in carriage, hack, omnibus, wagon, or afoot. 

On rising the last of the slight hills over which the turnpike 
is laid, one has a fine view of the broad Pacific, stretching in an un- 
broken line along the horizon, and washing the beach which skirts 
this side of the promontory. At the right is the outer side of the 
Golden Gate, its broad waves ever open to the ingress or egress 
of the snowy sails which dot the shining blue expanse, while be- 
yond and stretching northward into the dim vagueness of cloud- 
land are the dim outlines of the Bolinas Mesa at the base of Dux- 
bury Reef and Point Reyes. To the left and southward lies the 
long sandy beach on which the surf ever breaks mournfully or 
thunders threateningly ; and beyond this the bold rocky shore is 
pushed far seaward in blue and purple peaks which melt in the 
distance; the vast ocean, sparkling like sapphires in the sun, or 
gray under passing clouds, lies all along the horizon, and at one 
point iu its wavy line we mark the dot-like peaks of the Faral- 
lone Islands. 

The road descends to the brink of an abrupt cliff overhanging 
the sea, and commanding a view of three or four groups of rocky 
islets, which rise sharply from the turbulent waves. These are 
the famous " seal rocks," and their sole tenants are the seals or 
sea-lions, which bask in the sunshine on their ledges, and the sea- 
birds which light in flocks upon the peaks. The seals are per- 
petually climbing up the rocks, their sleek coats streaming with 
water, or plunging into the wave again, sporting in the liquid tide 
as if keenly enjoying their mere existence. Here and there on 
the higher pinnacles of the rocks are a few solitary ambitious ani- 
mals, who, having climbed far above their companions, are soundly 
sleeping in the sun, enjoying a long and profound nap. But for 
the most part, seals tumble in and out of water, over and over 
each other, or crawl awkwardly on the lower rocks, continually 
keeping up their peculiar grunt or bark, the noise of which is 
occasionally drowned by the thunder of the waves as they break 
against the cliff. With a good field-glass, one can watch every 
motion of the uncouth and ungainly beasts, and it is a source of 



endless am-usement for thosq who are curious in the study of their 
habits to note their peculiar motions and changes from place to 
place. By a State law they are protected from slaughter, and so 
they increase, multiply, and possess their place of abode with as 
much freedom from fear of man as though they were leagues away 
from any inhabited country. 

On the summit of the cliff is the Cliff House, kept by Captain 
Foster, who provides ample shelter and entertainment for pleasure-" 
seekers and their horses and carriages! From the rear of the hotel 
on a broad veranda, overhanging the sea, one obtains a grand view 
of the panorama and of the rocks which form the principal attrac- 
tion of the locality. Here are seats for the weary, protection from 
sun and rain, and cozy little rooms for the repasts which may be 
needed by those who come to " make a day of it." 


From the hotel a winding carriage-way, blasted out of solid 
rock, and guarded by a stone parapet, leads to the beach below. 




And along this level "beach, for six or seven miles, one has a glo- 
rious drive when the tide is at its ebb. The firm, elastic sand 
makes an easy road, and the combing waves, the wide expanse of 
sea, the distant or nearer sails gliding across the watery floor, the 
hazy landscape in the distance, all combine to form the most 
agreeable surroundings imaginable. 

There is a never-ceasing pleasure to a refined mind in looking 
upon, or listening to, the hoarse, murmuring roar of the sea ; an 
unexplainable charm in the music of its waves, as, with a seething 
sound, they curl and gently break upon a sandy shore, during a 
calm, or dash in all their majesty and fury, with thundering 
voices, upon the unheeding rocks in a storm. This is sublimity. 
Besides, every shell, and pebble, and marine plant, from the 
smallest fragment of sea-moss to the largest weed that germinates 
within the caverns of the deep, has an architectural perfection and 
beauty that ever attracts the wondering admiration of the 


This beach extends continuously from Seal Rock to Muscle 
Kock, about seven miles. Near the last-named place is a soda 
spring, and several veins of bituminous coal, to obtain which, 
shafts have been sunk to the depth of one hundred and twenty- 
four feet, in which the coal was found to grow better as they de- 
scended ; but, like many similar enterprises, when means to work 
it failed, it was abandoned. Other minerals are also found in this 
chain of hills. 



At the lower end of the beach the road turns into the hills 
again, and passing up among the sand dunes, the Ocean House is 
reached, another hotel having been passed just before leaving the 
sea-side. From this point the road, a well-kept macadamized 
turnpike winds over the hills and reaches the city by the way of 
the old Mission Dolores. 


This part of San Francisco, still called u The Mission," is newly 
built, for the most part, and the few ancient relics of the early 
Spanish occupation of the country, look strangely amidst the 
garish display and rude vigor of the new suburb of the city. 
Here, sheltered from ocean winds by the hills, which also detain 
the cold sea-fogs, was the religious settlement of the Spanish 


From a Photograph by Hamilton & Co. 

The old-fashioned, tile-covered adobe church and buildings 
attached, part of which are still in use by the Mission, and a part 
is converted into saloons and a store. This edifice was erected in 
1775-6, and was completed and dedicated August 1, 1776, and 
was formerly called San Francisco, in honor of the patron saint. 
Saint Francis, the name given to the bay by its discoverer, Juni- 
pero Serra, in October, 1769. 

The visitor will notice a number of old adobe buildings scattered 


here and there, in different directions; these were erected for the use 


of the Indians, one part being used for boys, and the other for girls, 
and in which they resided until they were about seventeen years 
of age, when they were allowed to marry, after which other apart- 
ments were assigned them, more in accordance with their condition. 

As late as 1849 there were two large boilers in the buildings 
back of the church ; and as meat was almost the only article of 
food, an ox was killed and boiled, wholesale, at which time the 
Indians would gather around and eat until they were satisfied. 
Of course, most of our readers are aware that Catholics are not 
allowed to eat meat on Friday, but, owing to this being the only 
article of diet to the Indians and native Californians around the 
Mission, they were not required to abstain from it, even on that day. 

According to Mr. Forbes, a very careful and accurate writer, 
who published a work in 1835, entitled the " History of Lower 
and Upper California," the number of black cattle belonging to 
this Mission in 1831, was five thousand six hundred and ten; 
horses, four hundred and seventy ; mules, forty ; while only two 
hundred and thirty-three fanegas (a fanega is about two and a half 
bushels) of wheat, seventy of Indian corn, and forty of small 
beans, were raised altogether. At that time, however, the Mis- 
sions had lost much of their former glory ; for, in 1825, only six 
years before, that of Dolores, alone, is said to have had seventy- 
six thousand head of cattle, nine hundred and fifty tame horses, 
two thousand breeding mares, eighty-four stud of choice breed, 
eight hundred and twenty mules, seventy-nine thousand sheep, 
two thousand hogs, and four hundred and fifty-six yoke of work- 
ing oxen ; and raised eighteen thousand bushels of wheat and 
barley. Besides, in 1802, according to Baron Humboldt, there 
were of males, in this Mission, four hundred and thirty-three ; of 
females, three hundred and eighty-one ; total, eight hundred and 
fourteen. And yet, according to Mr. Forbes, in 1831, there were 
but one hundred and twenty-four males, and eighty-five females ; 
and now, there are none. Truly, " the glory has departed." 

At that time, the Indians and native Californians, for many 
miles around, would congregate *at the Mission Dolores, about 
three times a year, bringing with them cattle enough to kill while 



they remained, which was generally about a week, and have a 
good holiday time with each other. 

Before the discovery of gold, it was the custom here to keep a 
tabular record of all the men, women, and children ; members of 
the church ; marriages, births, and deaths ; the number of live 
stock; and amounts of produce, in all their business details ; but, 
since then, every thing has changed for the worse. Even the lands 
devoted to, and set apart for, the use of the Mission, have, nearly 
all, been squatted upon, so that now but a few hundred varas 
remain intact ; and, as to where the stock of all kinds have gone, 
" deponent saith not." 


One feels quite a pleasurable curiosity in examining the old 
Spanish manuscript books still extant at this Mission, and looking 
upon their sheepskin covered lids and buckskin clasps. Besides 
these, there are about six hundred printed volumes, in Spanish, 
on religious subjects ; but, being in a foreign language, they are 
seldom or never read. 


The priests who taught, supported, and educated these simple- 
minded people are all gone, and a feeling of sadness must prevail 
in one's mind as lie contemplates the scene, so changed, so utterly 
denuded of almost every thing that would serve as a remembrance 
of the peaceful and devoted lives of the early missionaries of the 

The great point of attraction here to. visitors from the city, is 
its quiet green graveyard, which, but for its being so negligently 
tended, and slovenly kept, would be one of the prettiest places 
near the city of San Francisco. 

It seems as though we could never weary in looking upon these 
interesting scenes ; but as we have further to go, and, we trust, 
many more to look upon, let us again set out on our jaunt and 
visit this spot at our leisure. 

From the Mission into the city there lead several routes, but by 
taking that by Howard Street, one is brought nearest to one of 
the few suburban resorts of San Francisco, 

These may be justly called suburban. Once a dwelling-house, 
surrounded by ample pleasure-grounds, this place is now a small 
museum in the midst of a beautiful park. In the museum is a 
good collection of curiosities; and, scattered throughout the 
grounds, are many curious birds and animals. Aviaries, picture- 
galleries, conservatories, and zoological inclosures give variety to 
the scene, and, in pleasant weather, a most enjoyable day can 
be spent here among the trees, or inspecting the curiosities of 
the place. San Francisco has no public park as yet, and this 
result of the enterprise of a private citizen is the only substitute 
for what the city should have. 


Not much can be offered the stranger in the way of objects of 
architectural taste and skill in San Francisco. The city is now 
(1870) gradually improving, and, although its general appearance 
is not noble, there are a few public buildings which exhibit con- 


siderable artistic merit, and are costly enough to present a better 
appearance than they do. Art is vet young in San Francisco, 
and the only boast of its citizens is that they have done so much 
in so short a time. It is a perpetually recurring theme of grat- 
ulation that the city has so much to be proud of, and that its 
triumphs are so great for San Francisco. 

Among the most prominent public buildings may be mentioned 
the following, which are costly and attractive in appearance : 
the Grand Hotel, corner of Market and New Montgomery streets ; 
the Mercantile Library Building, an elegant structure, opposite 
the Cosmopolitan Hotel, on Bush Street ; the California Theatre, 


with an unpretending exterior, but with an admirably arranged 
and handsome interior and stage ; the Bank of California, with 
probably the most artistically designed exterior of any building 
in the State, on the corner of California and Sansome streets ; the 
building of the Young Men's Christian Association, on Sutter 
Street, above Kearney; this structure, like the bank building, is of 
an easily- worked and agreeably-tinted stone which is quarried 
from Angel Island, in the bay of San Francisco. To these might 
be added one or two handsome private residences, most of which, 
with the best churches, however, are more noticeable for elegantly- 
finished and furnished interiors than for any architectural beauty 
which would command the eye of the passer-by. There are 


several public institutions to which, a visit would be profitable ; 
and though they do not differ much from similar institutions 
elsewhere, the Protestant Orphan Asylum, the Industrial School, 
and several other such places are evidences of liberality, benefi- 
cence, and care for the needy and unfortunate. 


An excursion on the bay is one of the pleasures which a tourist 
ought to secure by all means, if possible. If no other way presents 
itself, a trip can be made on the government steamers which ply 
among the fortifications of the harbor. Of these public works, 
Fort Point is the first which attracts the notice of the voyager 
who enters the Golden Gate. The fort is of brick and commands 
the narrow entrance to the bay and harbor; its battery is formid- 
able, but the changes which have been made in modern enginery 
render its brick walls any thing but impregnable. This point was 
first occupied by the Americans in March, 1847, when it was 
taken possession of by Major Hardie, of Colonel Stevenson's 
regiment. Here was a small battery which had been left by the 
Mexicans, and here was begun in 1854, the present structure, the 
frowning walls of which are faced by the rocky galleries of Lime 
Point, just across the Gate, where formidable cannon virtually 
sweep the entire entrance of the Golden Gate. 

The light-house, adjoining the fort, can be seen for from ten to 
twelve miles, and is an important addition to the mercantile inter- 
ests of California, although we regret to say the lantern, known as 
the "Fresnel Light," is only of the fifth order, and is the smallest 
on the coast ; it is fifty-two feet above sea level. Two men are 
employed to attend it. Connected with this is a fog bell, weighing 
one thousand one hundred pounds, and worked by machinery, that 
strikes every ten seconds for five taps then has an intermission of 
thirty-four seconds, and. recommences the ten-second strike. This 
is kept constantly running during foggy weather. 

On the same side of the harbor (the southern) as Fort Point, is 
the Presidio, once the place of official residence of the Spanish 
and Mexican commandante, and the rendezvous of the small 



military force which was kept here. The old adobe buildings 
have long since disappeared, and in their place is quite a compact 
village of soldiers' barracks, officers' houses, mess-rooms, store- 
houses, etc., the whole being situated on a military reservation 
which stretches down to and incloses Fort Point. The number 


of troops kept here varies constantly, but the majority of those 
stationed in the harbor are at Camp "Reynolds and the other posts 
on Angel Island, one of the fortified islands in the northwestern 
part of the bay, near Eaccoon Straits ; and south of this is Yerba 
Buena, or Goat Island, ako a government reservation and military 
post. In the centre of that part of the bay nearest San Francisco 
is the island of Alcatraz (known in the government documents as 
Alcatraces), on which is an immense fortification, a miniature 
Gibraltar. The island is well nigh inaccessible, save at a single 
point, and the defensive and offensive works on the island, which 
is a mass of precipitous rock, are very complete in their design 
and finish. 


From Telegraph Hill, one of the most northerly of the many 
eminences on which San Francisco is built, one can secure the best 


view of the city and bay anywhere to be found. There is actually 
no single point from which a full general view of San Francisco can 
be obtained, situated as it is among the hills and straggling off 
into the more level spaces which form the southern base of the 
promontory. But the most correct idea of the shape of the mag- 
nificent bay, its extent, and the position of the city is had after a 
view of the wonderful panorama which is seen from the top of 
Telegraph Hill. 

Seaward, one looks through the Gate upon the sky line of the 
ocean ; turning northward, is the range of hills which culminates 
in Mount Tarnal Pais ; nearer, in the same direction, is Fort Al- 
catraz, and, still turning northward, one sees the approaches to 
Carquinez Straits, the gateway of the Sacramento and San Joaquin 
rivers ; eastward, as the observer turns, are the Contra Costa hills, 
brown and purple in the dry months, or gold and green in the 
early spring ; due eastward is Oakland, dotting the plain and 
creeping up the slopes beyond, above which rises the rounded 
peak of Mount Diablo; and southward, where the blue waters of 
the land-locked bay seem to stretch interminably, are the hills 
which encircle the ancient mission of San Jose, and still beyond 
are the snowy peaks of the Coast Range. It is a noble view, and 
well worth the climb it costs. 


A pleasant excursion may be made to the summit of Tamal Pais, 
a peak of the broken Coast Range, in Marin county, on the blunt 
peninsula which is washed by the Pacdfic on the outer side and 
the waters of the bay within. Mount Tamal Pais is 2,597 feet high, 
and from its summit a very extensive panorama of ocean, bay, 
forest, and hill is seen. Good trails lead up to the top of the 
mountain from San Rafael, which town is reached by steamer 
from San Francisco, though a longer but more picturesque route 
from. Saucelito, also reached by steamboat, is often used by tourists. 
On a clear day, the view from the peak of Tamal Pais is extensive 
and striking ; and even when the fogs are rolling in, the observer 
will obtain some most singular and remarkable effects of light and 


shade, the rolling wreaths of cloud, the broken sunlight, and the 
fleecy curtain of fog which shuts down over sea and mountain 
range, forming a moving panorama, constantly changing and most 
fascinating. A trip to Tamal Pais, though somewhat fatiguing, 
certainly includes some of the most novel sights around San 





S the fine little steamer 
" Rambler " was sounding 
her last whistle, we received 
a parting injunction writes 
an esteemed acquaintance*- 
from friends on the Broad- 
way street wharf, San Fran- 
cisco, "to keep well aft," 
and stepped on board. 

It was one of the chilliest, 
dreariest, most disagreeable 
of San Francisco's summer 
A dense fog, 
fresh from the great factory 
out on the Pacific, was roll- 


Sketched from nature by George Tirrell. 
* Mr. George Tin-oil, designer and painter of the Panorama of California. 


ing in over the hills at the back of the city, and hurrying across 
the bay before a stiff north-west wind. The waves, as they rolled 
along the sides of the shipping, or splashed among the piles, 
seemed to be playing a most melancholy march, to which the 
great army of fog-clouds moved across the cheerless water, and 
their commanding officer the wind seemed to be continually 
saying " forward," as it whistled through the rigging of the 

The individual who is always just too late, made his appear- 
ance, as usual, as the steamer's fasts were cast off, and her wheels 
commenced their lively though monotonous ditty in the water. 

Two or three Whitehall boatmen, who were lying off the wharf, 
evidently expecting such a " fare," gave their lazily playing skulls 
a vigorous pull, which sent their beautiful little craft darting into 
the wharf. The boy with, the basket of oranges hastened to offer 
the would-be-traveller " three for two bits," by way of consolation, 
and as he slowly proceeded up the dock again, the other boy with 
the papers and magazines called his attention to the last " Har- 
per's," or " Overland Monthly." 

The ten thousand voices of the city became blended into a con- 
tinuous roar, as we glided out into the stream ; the long drawn 
"go-o-o ahead," or "hi-i-gh," of the stevedores at their work, dis- 
charging the stately clippers, being about the only intelligible 
sounds to be distinguished above the mass. 


Soon the outermost ship, on board of which a disconsolate 
looking "jolly tar" was riding down one of the head stays, giving 
it a "lick" of tar as he went, was passed, and we struck the strong 
current of wind which was blowing in at the Golden Gate (care- 
lessly left open, as usual). The young giant of a city had become 
swallowed up in the gloom of the fog, and its thousands of busy 
people ceased to exist, except in our imaginations. After passing 
Angel Island, the fog began to lift ; we were approaching the 
edge of the bank ; and soon the sun appeared, hard at work at 
his apparently hopeless task of devouring the intruding fog, which 


had dared to interpose its cold billows between liim and the bay, 
upon which he loves to shine. 

The course of the boat was along the western side of Pablo Bay, 
close enough to the shore to give the passengers a fine view of it, 
as w^ell as of the inland country, and the more distant mountains 
of the coast range. Large masses of misty clouds, w T hich had 
become detached from the main fog bank, still partially obscured 
the sunlight, casting enormous shadows along the hill sides and 
across the plains, heightening, by contrast, the golden tinge of the 
wild oats, and giving additional beauty to the varied tints of the 
cultivated fields. Beyond, Tamal Pais, and other and lesser 
peaks of the Coast Range, piled their wealth of purple light and 
misty shadows, against the brightness of the western sky. 

I wonder that our artists, in their search for the picturesque, 
have overlooked the splendid scene which Tamal Pais and the 
adjacent mountains present from the vicinity of -Red Rock, or 
from the eastern shore of the straits. It is certainly one of the 
most picturesque scenes anywhere in the vicinity of San Francisco, 
especially toward sunset, when the long streaks of sunlight come 
streaming down the ravines, piercing with their golden light the 
hazy mystery which envelops the mountains, and brilliantly illum- 
inating the intervening plains and hill-sides. From the familiarity 
of the view, a good picture would, without doubt, be much sought 


The seamanship of the pilot was much exercised while navi- 
gating the "Rambler" up Petaluma Creek. The creek is merely a 
long, narrow, ditch-like indentation, which makes up into the flat 
tule plains at the northern side of Pablo Bay, and into which the 
tide ebbs and flows. Its course very much resembles the track of 
a man who has spent half an hour hunting for a lost pocket-book 
in a field. If, after gazing awhile at the creek, the eye should be 
suddenly turned to a ram's horn or a manzanita stick, the latter 
would appear perfectly straight, by comparison. First we go 
toward the north star awhile, then we come to a short bend 
where an immense amount of backing, and stopping, and going 



ahead occurs, which all results in running the boat hard and fast 
ashore. Then the pilot, perspiring freely from his violent exer- 
tions at the wheel, thrusts his head out of the window, and, after 
taking a survey of the state of aifairs, sets himself to ringing the 
signal bells again. Then the crew get out a long pole, and plant- 
ing one end in the bank, apply their united "strength to the other. 
No movement ! Then the captain heroically rushes ashore in the 
mud and tules, and calls for volunteers to help him push. Human 

strength and steam triumph in the end, and the " Rambler," with 
one side all besmeared with mud, goes paddling off toward Cape 
Horn. After progressing a short distance in this direction, another 
bend is reached, when more superhuman exertion on the part of 
the pilot ensues, and plump we go ashore again. Then the captain 
gives utterance to a vigorous exclamation (but as the expletive 
does no good, it is hardly necessary to repeat it here), and then 
he jumps into the mud again. Half the passengers follow suit, 
the crew go through with their pole exercise, pilot plays another 


tune on the bells,, engineer gets bothered, and finally off we start 
in the direction of Japan, leaving the captain and his shore party 
standing in the mud. Upon backing up for them to get on board, 
the boat becomes fast again. This is a fair specimen of the navi- 
gation of Petaluma Creek above the city (of one house), called 
the "Haystack." 

Before reaching Petaluma, we met a little steamer coming down 
with a load of wood. She resembled an immense pile of wood 
with a smoke-stack in the centre, floating down the stream, and 
appeared to take up the whole width of the creek, when our pas- 
sengers began to wonder how we were to get by. It was a tight 
fit. There was not room enough left between the two boats to 
insert this sheet of paper. The " Rambler" puffed, and from the 
depths of the wood pile was heard a sort of wheezing, as if half a 
dozen people with bad colds were down there somewhere, all try- 
ing to cough at once, and couldn't. The captain gave utterance 
to a few more expletives, as the rough ends of the wood defaced 
the new paint on our boat ; but the skipper of the wood-pile only 
laughed ; yet, as the " Rambler," in passing, scraped off two or 
three cords of his cargo, it then became our turn to laugh. 


Petaluma was reached at last, and the passengers for Healds- 
burg found a stage in waiting. Jumping in, we were soon whiz- 
zing across the plains behind a couple of fine colts. The road lay 
directly up the Petaluma and Russian River Yalleys. Past the 
ranches along the sides of interminable fields of corn and 
grain through the splendid park-like groves sometimes across 
the open plain, at others winding around the base of the hills, 
which make up from the eastern side of the valley. 

Santa Rosa was reached by sunset. Our arrival was hailed by 
the ringing of a great number and variety of bells. How sing- 
ular it is that the arrival of a stage-coach in a country town 
always sets the dinner-bells to ringing, especially if the occurrence 
happens about meal time. 

By the time supper was despatched, and a pair of sober old 


stagers put to in the place of our frisky young colts, the moon had 
risen over the mountains, and was flooding the v.alley with her 
glorious sheen, tipping the fine old oaks with a silvery fringe of 
light, and laying their solemn shadows along the grass and across 
the road. A pleasant ride of two hours carried us to the end of 
our first day's journey, Healdsburg. 

On the following morning, we were recommended to apply at 
the stable opposite the hotel for horses. Having selected one 
warranted not to kick up nor stand on his hind legs, nor jump 
stiff-legged, nor play any other pranks, he was saddled and 
bridled at once. Our portfolio (which, for want of a better cover- 
ing, was carried in an old barley sack) was slung on one side, and 
our wardrobe depended at the other. A whip was added to com- 
plete the outfit, accompanied by the observation that as " Old 
Pete" was apt to " soger," " we might find it useful." 

Then the stable man attempted to describe the road to Ray's 
Ranche. First, we should come to a bridge ; a mile beyond that, 
see a house, to which we were to pay no attention, but look out 
for a haystack. Having found the haystack, we were to turn to 
the left, and would soon come to a long lane, that would lead us 
to another house, where we were either to turn to the right, or 
keep straight ahead, he had forgotten which. At this point of the 
description, a bystander interposed, saying that we must turn to 
the left; upon this, an argument sprung up between the two, 
which nearly led to a fight. 

Finding that there was not much information to be elicited 
from those witnesses, " Old Pete" received a touch and started, 
with our head buzzing with right and left hand roads, while a 
regiment of ranches, lanes, and haystacks, seemed to be a " bob- 
bing round" just ahead of the horse's nose. We found the bridge, 
and saw the house, to which we were to pay no attention ; there 
was no need of looking out for a haystack, for a dozen were in 
sight ; so, selecting the biggest one, we turned to the left, accord- 
ing to the chart. 

"We rode along about a mile, and came to a fence which barred 
any further progress in that direction ; then kept along the fence 



until we came to a lane which took us to a pair of bars. Let 
down the obstruction, traversed another lane, and at the end of 
it found ourselves in somebody's dooryard. It was evident that 
we had taken the wrong road. 

We now obtained fresh directions at the farm-house, but as 
three or four attempted at the same time to tell us the way all 
talking at once, and each insisting upon his favorite route so that 
we speedily became mixed up again with another labyrinth of 
fences, lanes, and haystacks we began to doubt the existence of 
such a place as " Ray's Ranche." It seemed forever retreating as 
we advanced, like the mythical crock of gold, buried at the foot 
of a rainbow, which we remembered starting in search of once, 
when a youngster. 

But the ranche was found at last, and a very fine one it is, too. 
The house is situated a little way up in the foot-hills, and com- 
mands a splendid view of Russian River Valley, the Coast Range, 
Mount St. Helens, etc. The ranche itself, garden, orchards, and 
fields of wheat and corn, is situated in a valley, just below the 
house, which makes up between the steep mountain sides. A 


brook winds through the whole length of the little valley, afford- 
ing capital facilities for irrigation. 

We had the good luck here to fall in with Mr. G , one of 


the proprietors of the Geysers, who was also on the way up. From 
the accounts which have been published, we expected to find the 
road from here a rough one. But it is nothing of the sort. It is 
a very good mountain trail, wide enough for a wagon to pass 
along its whole length. Buggies have been clear through, and 
could go again, were a few days' work to be expended upon the 
trail. It is quite steep, in many places, as a matter of course ; 
but from the fact that Mr. G - (who was mounted upon a 
young colt, that had never before been ridden, and had simply a 
piece of rope by way of bridle) trotted down most of the declivi- 
ties, it may be inferred that the grade is not so very steep. 

The first three or four miles beyond Ray's, to the summit of the 
first ridge, is all up hill ; nearly 1,700 feet in altitude being gained 
in that distance, or 2,317 feet above the level of the sea, Ray's 
being 617. 

There are few places in all California where a more magnificent 
view can be obtained, than the one seen from this ridge. The 
whole valley of Russian River lies like a map at your feet, extend- 
ing from the south-east and south, where it joins Petaluma Yalley, 
clear round to the north-west. The course of the river can be traced 
for miles, far away, alternately sweeping its great curves of rippling 
silver out into the opening plain, or disappearing behind the dark 
masses of timber. From one end of the valley to the other, the 
golden yellow of the plain is diversified by the darker tints of the 
noble oaks. In some places they stand in great crowds ; then an 
open space will occur, with perhaps a few scattered trees, which 
serve to conduct the eye to where a long line of them appears? 
like an army drawn up for review, with a few single trees in front 
by way of officers ; and in the rear a confused crowd of stragglers 
to represent the baggage train and camp followers. Here and 
there, among the oaks, the vivid green foliage and bright red 
stems of the graceful madrone, and on the banks of the river can 
be seen the silvery willows and the dusky sycamores. 

The beauty of the plain is still more enhanced by the numerous 


ranches, with their widely extending fields of ripe grain and ver- 
dant corn. 

Beyond the valley is the long extending line of the Coast Moun- 
tains. The slanting rays of the declining sun were overspreading 
the mysterious blue and purple of their shadowy sides with a 
glorious golden haze, through whose gauzy splendor could be 
traced the summits only of the different ranges towering one 
above the other, each succeeding fainter than the last, until the 
indescribably fine outline of the highest peaks, but one remove, in 
color, from the sky itself, bounded the prospect. 

Toward the south-east, we could see Mount St. Helen's, and the 
upper part of JSTapa Yalley. St. Helen's is certainly the most 
beautiful mountain in California. It is far from being as lofty 
as its more pretentious brethren of the Sierra Nevada, and by 
the side of the great Shasta Butte it would be dwarfed to a mole- 
hill ; but its chaste and graceful outline is the very ideal of 
mountain form. There is said to be a copper plate, bearing an 
inscription, on the summit of this mountain, placed there by the 
Russians many years ago. 

Away off, toward the south, we could discern that same old fog, 
still resting, like a huge incubus, upon San Francisco bay. Its 
fleecy billows were constantly in motion now obscuring, now 
revealing the summits of different peaks, which rose like islands 
out of the sea of clouds. Above, and far beyond the fog, the 
view terminated with the long, level line of the blue Pacific, sixty 
or seventy miles distant. 

From the point where we have stopped to take this extended 
view (too much extended, on paper, perhaps the reader will think), 
the horses climbed slowly up the steep ascent, leading to a 
plateau, on the northern side of a mountain, which has received 
no less than three different names. As it is a difficult matter, 
among so many titles, to fix upon the proper one, we will enumer- 
ate them all, and the reader can take his choice. The mountain 

was first called " Godwin's Peak," in honor of there, G , the 

cat's out of the bag ! your name has got into print, in spite of 
our endeavors to keep it out. With characteristic modesty, Mr. 


G declined the honor which the name conferred upon him, 

and it was changed by somebody or other to " Geyser Peak ;" 
but, for some unknown reason, this name also failed to stick, and 
somebody else came along and called it " Sulphur Peak." Both 
the latter names are inappropriate, for there are no Geysers nor 
no sulphur within five miles of the mountain. G., we are afraid 
you will have to endure your honors, and stand godfather to it. 

The " Peak" rises to the height of three thousand four hundred 
and seventy-one feet above the level of the sea, and its sides are 
covered, clear to the summit, with a thick growth of tangled 
chaparal. From here, the trail runs along the narrow ridge of 
the mountains, forming the divide between " Sulphur Creek" (an 
odious name for a beautiful trout stream) and Pluton River. 
The ridge is called the " Hog's Back" still another name, as 
inappropriate as it is homely. The ridge much more resembles 
the back of a horse which has just crossed the plains, or has 
dieted for some time on shavings, than that of a plump porker. 
From the end of this ridge the trail is quite level, as far as the 
top of the hill, which pitches sharply down to the river, and at 
the foot of which the Geysers are situated. 


When about two-thirds of the way down the hill, the rushing 
noise of the escaping steam of the Great Geyser can be heard ; 
but, unless the stranger's attention was called to it, he would mis- 
take the sound for the roaring of the river. About this time, 
too, is recognized the sulphurous smell with which the air is 

Just as the traveller begins seriously to think that the hill has 
no bottom, the white gable end of the hotel, looking strangely out 
of place among its wild surroundings, comes unexpectedly into 

Upon awakening, on the following morning, it was a difficult 
matter to convince ourselves that we had not been transported, 
while asleep, to the close vicinity of some of the w r harves in San 
Francisco, there was such & powerful smell of what seemed to be 




ancient dock mud. It was the sulphur. The smell is a trifle un- 
pleasant at first, but one soon becomes accustomed to it, and rather 
likes it than otherwise. 

The view of the Geysers, from the hotel, is a very striking one, 
more especially in the morning, when the steam can be plainly 
seen, issuing from the earth in a hundred different places ; the 
numerous columns uniting at some distance above the earth, and 
forming an immense cloud, which overhangs the whole canon. 

As the sun advances above the hills, this cloud is speedily 
" eaten up," and the different columns of steam, with the excep- 
tion of those from the Steamboat Geyser, the Witches' Cauldron, 
and a few others, become invisible, being evaporated as fast as 
they issue from the ground. 

Breakfast disposed of, Mr. G. kindly offered to conduct us to 



the different springs. The trail descends abruptly from the house, 
among the tangled undergrowth of the steep mountain side, to the 
river, some ninety feet below. We passed on the way the long 
row of bathing-houses, the water for which is conveyed across the 
river in a lead pipe, from a hot sulphur spring on the opposite 

The unearthly-looking canon, in which most of the springs are 
situated, makes up into the mountains directly from the river. A 
small stream of water, which rises at the head of the caiion, flows 
through its whole length. The stream is pure and cold at its 
source, but gradually becomes heated, and its purity sadly sullied, 
as it receives the waters of the numerous springs along its banks. 


Hot springs and cold springs ; white, red, and black sulphur 
springs ; iron, soda, and boiling alum springs ; and the deuce only 
knows what other kind of springs, all pour their medicated waters 
into the little stream, until its once pure and limpid water like a 
human patient made sick by over-doctoring becomes pale, and 



has ( a wheyish, sickly, unnatural look, as it feverishly tosses and 
tumbles over its rocky bed. 

A short distance up the canon there is a deep, shady pool, which 
receives the united waters of all the springs above it. By the 
time the stream reaches here, its medicated waters become cooled 
to the temperature of a warm summer day, and the basin forms, 
perhaps, the most luxurious bath to be found in the world. 

A few feet from this, there is a warm alum and iron spring, 
whose water is more thoroughly impregnated than any of the 
others. . 


A little way further up is " Proserpine's Grotto," an enchanting 
retreat among the wild rocks, completely surrounded and enclosed 
by the fantastic roots and twisted branches of the bay trees, and 


roofed over by tlieir wide-spreading foliage. Glimpses of the nar- 
row gorge above, with its numerous cascades, can be obtained 
through the openings of the trees ; the whole forming one of the 
finest " little bits," as an artist would call it, to be found in the 

As we proceeded up the canon the springs became more numer- 
ous. They were bubbling and boiling in every direction. We 
hardly dared to move for fear of putting our feet into a spring of 
boiling alum, or red' sulphur, or some other infernal concoction. 
The water of the stream, too, was now scalding hot, and the rocks, 
and the crumbling, porous earth, were nearly as hot as the water. 
We took good care to literally " follow in the footsteps of our 
illustrious predecessor," as he hopped about from boulder to boul- 
der, or rambled along in (as we thought) dangerous proximity to 
the boiling waters. Every moment he would pick up a handful 
of magnesia, or alum, or sulphur, or tartaric acid, or Epsom salts, 
or some other nasty stuff, plenty of which encrusted all the rocks 
and earth in the vicinity, and invite us to taste, them. From fre- 
quent nibblings at the different deposits, our mouths became so 
puckered up, that all taste was lost for any thing else. 

In addition to these strange and unnatural sights, the ear was 
saluted by a great variety of startling sounds. Every spring had 
a voice. Some hissed and sputtered like water poured upon red 
hot iron ; others reminded one of the singing of a tea-kettle, or the 
purring of a cat ; and others seethed and bubbled like so many 
cauldrons of boiling oil. One sounded precisely like the ma- 
chinery of a grist mill in motion (it is called " The Devil's Grist 
Mill"), and another like the propeller of a steamer. 

High above all these sounds was ttoe loud roaring of the great 
"Steamboat Geyser."* The steam of this Geyser issues with 
great force from a hole about two feet in diameter, and it is so 
heated as to be invisible until it -has risen to some height from the 

* This Geyser is shown in the f iew of " Geyser Canon." It is the upper large column 
of steam on the left side of the canon ; the one below it, and nearer the spectator, is 
the " Witches' Cauldron." The foreground of the view is occupied by the " Mountain 
of Fire," from which the steam issues by a hundred different apertures. 


ground. It is highly dangerous to approach very close to it unless 
there is sufficient wind to blow the steam aside. 

But the most startling of all the various sounds was a continuous 
subterranean roar, similar to that which precedes an earthquake. 

We must confess, that when in the midst of all these horrible 

sights and sounds, we felt very much like suggesting to G 

the propriety of returning, but a fresh handful of Epsom salts 
and alum, mixed, stopped our mouths, and by the time we had 
ceased sputtering over the puckerish compound, the "Witches' 
Cauldron" was reached. (See vignette.) This is a horrible place. 

"Mind how you step here," said G , as we approached it; 

and, with the utmost caution, we placed our tens in his tracks, 
that is, as much of them as we could get in. 

The cauldron is a hole, sunk like a well in the precipitous side 
of the mountain, and is of unknown depth. It is filled to the 
brim with something that looks very much like burnt cork and 
water (we believe the principal ingredient is black sulphur). This 
liquid blackness is in constant motion, bubbling and surging from 
side to side, and throwing up its boiling spray to the height of 
three or four feet. Its vapor deposits a black sediment on all the 
rocks in its vicinity. 

There are a great many other springs some tw r o hundred in 
number of every gradation of temperature, from boiling hot to 
icy cold, and impregnated with all sorts of mineral and chemical 
compounds; frequently the two extremes of heat and cold are 
found within a few inches of each other. But as all the other 
springs present nearly the same characteristics as most of those 
already referred to, it would be but a tedious repetition to attempt 
to describe more. They are all wonderful. The ordinary observer 
can only look at them, a-nd wonder that such things exist ; but to 
the scientific man, one capable of divining the mysterious cause 
of their action, the study of them must be an exquisite delight. 

It is worth the traveller's while to climb the mountains on the 
north side of the Pluton, for the fine view which their summits 
afford on every hand ; toward the north, a part of Clear Lake can 
be seen, some fifteen miles distant. But, perhaps, the scene which 




would delight a lover of nature most, can be obtained by rising 
early and walking back half a mile upon the trail which descends 
to the hotel. It is to see the gorgeous tints of the eastern sky, as 
the sun comes climbing up behind the distant mountains, and 
afterward to watch his long slanting rays in the illuminated mist, 
as they come streaming down the canon of the Pluton, flashing on 
the water in dots and splashes of dazzling light, and tipping the 
rich shadows of the closely- woven foliage with a fringe of gold. 

Some people have said that California scenery is monotonous, 
that her mountains are all alike, and that her skies repeat each 
other from day to day. Believe them not, ye distant readers, to 
whom, as yet, our glorious California is an unknown land. The 
monotony is in their own narrow, unappreciative souls, not in our 
grand mountains, towering, ridge upon ridge, until the long line 
of the furthest peaks becomes blended with the dreamy haze that 
loves to linger round their summits. And the gorgeous glow of 
our sunrises, or the still more gorgeous green and orange, and 
gold and crimson, of our sunsets, reflect their heavenly hues upon 
dull eyes, indeed when they can see no beauty in them. 


The route most generally travelled, from San Francisco to the 
Geysers, is as follows : At 8 o'clock A. M., or at 3:30 p. M., take 
steamer at the Vallejo Street wharf for Vallejo distance twenty- 
five miles time about two hours fare, $1. Thence by the 
Napa Valley Railroad to Calistoga distance forty-four miles 
time two hours fare, $2.50. Thence by Foss's stage, via the new 
road, to the Geysers distance twenty-eight miles time about 
five and a half hours fare, $6. 

The better time to leave San Francisco would be at 3:30 p. M., 
arriving at Calistoga at about 7;30 p. M. Leave there about 7:30 
A. M. the following morning, after breakfast, and arrive at the 
Geysers about 1 o'clock P.M. As the sun "eats up" the steam 
from the springs during the heat of the day, the best time to see 
them is after a good rest, and when the shadows of evening have 
filled Geyser Canon ; or, early in the morning, before sunrise. 
When leaving the Geysers on the return trip, it is a good plan to 
have a cup of coffee before starting, and, taking the old road, make 
Foss' and a good breakfast at 9 A. M., Calistoga about 12 M., 
and San Francisco about 4 p. M. 

The beautiful and singular scenery ; the different methods of 
travel by steamboat, by railroad, and by stage-coach ; and the 
world-renowned driving of Foss'; are all recorded in the note- 
book of memory kept by every visitor to " The Geysers." 





" Who lives to nature rarely can be poor." 


THIS beautifully picturesque and romantic waterfall is situated on 
Deer Creek, about nine miles below the large and populous mining 
town of Nevada. To those who are unacquainted with the tech- 



nicalities of mining, the meaning of the above name, when applied 
to a waterfall, may be somewhat of a mystery. To make it plain 
to every reader, perhaps it will not be uninteresting to describe 
one of the implements of mining called the Long Tom. This 
ancient, and now almost obsolete mining tool, if such it may be 
called, consists of a long fl atish box or sluice, from ten to fifty feet 
in length, and from one foot to three feet in width, and open at 
the top ; into this the dirt is thrown, and through it a stream of 
water is turned. The back end being elevated, gives sufficient fall 
for the water to pass down with considerable force. At the lower 
end there is a plate of perforated iron, called, a Tom Iron, through 
which the water, dirt, and gold pass into a "riffle-box" underneath; 
where the gold is saved. This box has narrow strips of wood across 
the bottom ; and when one end is elevated the water makes a fall, 
or riffle. Hence, from the great resemblance in -the shape of the 
above falls to a riffle-box, comes the name of Riffle-Box Falls. Dur- 
ing the winter season, when the water rushes over with an impetu- 
ous sweep, it is remarkably wild and tumultuous. 

In 1852, a company was formed to test the richness of this great 
riffle-box of nature ; and to accomplish which a tunnel was cut 
through a hill of solid rock, about three hundred feet in length,' at 
a cost of twenty thousand dollars. Through this tunnel the waters 
of the creek were turned, and by which the falls were drained. 

The water had worn deep holes in the bed of the creek, and to 
pump these dry, seven thousand dollars more were expended in 
machinery, &c. When this was accomplished and the " box" was 
made dry, the whole of the gold that was taken out was only about 
two hundred dollars. 

, This is one of the many enterprises into which the Californian 
enters, and where his money and time frequently all that he pos- 
sesses are embarked, in a single venture, and he thrown penni- 
less upon his own energies to begin life again as he terms it. 
This will give friends in the East at least, one idea why the miner 
frequently remains from dear friends and home so long, when his 
hopes of returning were built upon the success of his undertaking 
and which too often proves a complete failure. 





Sketched from nature, by George //. Goddard. 

UNTIL the discovery of the rich silver mines of Washoe, this re- 
markably beautiful lake was known only to the few. It is true 
that the footsteps of the old mountaineer, the early explorer, and 
the pioneer emigrant, trod its silent shores at a very early day ; 
and in later years the hardy prospector, in search of Gold Lake, 
and other fabulous localities of supposed wealth, looked upon the 
burnished waters, and cloud-draped crags that encompass this 
beautiful sheet, with charmed eyes. But it remained for the liv- 



ing tide of population that poured into that region over the sier- 
ras, in search of the precious ores, during the excitement of 1860, 
and subsequently, to make this scene become extensively familiar ; 
inasmuch as a magnificent view of Lake Tahoe can be obtained, 
on reaching the summits of the surrounding mountains, from near- 
ly every northern trail into Washoe, especially that from Placer- 
ville, without even turning aside from the road. 

It may not be generally known, that, at the heads of nearly 
every stream originating among the snows of the Sierra Nevada, 
there are extensive lakes, or fertile vallevs, from the Siskiyou 
mountains to Fort Yuma. To these retreats the stock raisers of 
the midland counties take their droves, when the feed in the Sac- 
ramento and San Joaquin valleys becomes scant, or dried up dur- 
ing the dry months of summer. 

Since the excitement before alluded to, numerous companies 
of prospectors have gone out in the hope of finding rich veins of 
silver-bearing quartz ; and, in addition to discovering the valuable 
mines of Mono, Esmeralda, and others equally rich, they have re- 
turned with ever-to-be-remembered mind-pictures of those scenes 
of beauty and of grandeur, that lie slumbering in lofty solitude 
among the rocks and peaks and stunted pines of this great moun- 
tain chain. 

During the year 1855, Mr. George H. G-oddard, civil engineer, 
in charge of the state wagon-road survey, visited this spot, and 
favored us with the following sketch : 

" This beautiful lake is situated in a valley of the Sierra Nevada, 
at the eastern base of the central ridge, a few miles north of the 
main road of travel to Carson Valley. It lies at an elevation of 
some 5,800 feet above the level of the sea, and about 1,500 feet 
above Carson Valley, from which it is divided by a mountain ridge 
three to four miles across. 

"The southern shores of this lake were explored during the state 
wagon-road survey of 1855, and its extreme southern latitude de- 
termined at 38 57'. The 120th meridian of west longitude divides 
the lake pretty equally, giving its western shore to California and 
its eastern to Utah. Its northern 'extremity is only known by re- 


port, which is still so contradictory that the length of the lake can- 
iiot be set down with any thing like accuracy. It can hardly ex- 
ceed, however, twenty miles in length by about six in breadth ; 
notwithstanding, it has been called forty, and even sixty miles 

"The surrounding mountains rise from one to three, and, per- 
haps, in some cases, four thousand feet above the surface of the 
lake. They are principally composed of friable white granite, 
so water-worn that, although they are rough, and often covered 
with rocks and boulders, yet they show no cliffs or precipices. 
Their bases, of granite sand, rise in majestic curves from the plain 
of the valley to their steeper flanks. Many of the smaller hills 
are but high heaps of boulders, the stony skeletons decaying in 
situ, half buried in their granite debris. The shores of the lake, 
at least of its southern coast, are entirely formed of granite sand ; 
not a pebble is there to mar its perfect smoothness. 

" A dense pine-forest extends from the water's edge to the sum- 
mits of the surrounding mountains, except in some points where a 
peak of more than ordinary elevation rears its bald head above 
the waving forest. An extensive swampy flat lies on its southern 
shore, through which the Upper Truckee slowly meanders, gather- 
ing up, in its tortuous course, all the streams which flow from the 
south or south-east. The deep blue of the waters indicates a con- 
siderable depth to the lake. The water is perfectly fresh. The 
lake well stocked with salmon and trout. It is resorted to at cer- 
tain seasons by the neighboring Indians, for fishing. 

"Although lying so near the main road of travel, little has been 
known of this lake until quite a recent period. There is no doubt 
this is the lake of which the Indians informed Colonel Fremont, 
when encamped at Pyramid Lake, at the mouth of the Salmon- 
Trout or Truckee river, and which he thus relates, under date of 
January 15, 1844: 'They made on the ground a drawing of the 
river, which they represented as issuing from another lake in the 
mountains, three or four days distant, in a direction a little west 
of south ; beyond which they drew a mountain, and farther still 
two rivers, on one of which they told us that people like ourselves 


travelled.' How clear does this description read to us, now that 
we know the localities ! 

a Afterward, when crossing the mountains near Carson Pass, 
Colonel Fremont caught sight of this lake, but, deceived by the 
great altitude of the mountains to its east, and the apparent gap 
in the western ridge at Johnson Pass, he laid it down as being on 
the California side of the mountains, at the head of the south fork 
of the American River. In the map attached to Colonel Fremont's 
report, it is there called Mountain Lake, but in the general map of 
the explorations by Charles Preuss it is named Lake Bompland. 
In Wilkes's map, and others published about the period of the gold 
discovery, it bears the former name. "When Colonel Johnson laid 
out his road across the mountains, the lake was passed unnoticed, 
except under the general term of Lake Valley. General Wynn's 
Indian expedition, or the emigrant relief train, first named it Lake 
Bigler, after our late governor. Under this name it was first de- 
picted in its transmountain position in Eddy's state map, and thus 
the name has become established.* 

" There is no lake in California which, for beauty and variety of 
scenery, is to be compared to Tahoe Lake ; but it is not its beauty 
of situation alone that will attract us there. A geological interest 
is fastening upon it, for there we see what so many other of the 
great valleys of the sierra once were. The little stream of the 
tipper Truckee, though but of yesterday, has yet carried down its 
sandy deposits through ages, sufficient to form the five miles of val- 
ley flats, from the foot of the Johnson Pass to the present margin 
of the lake, and still the work progresses. The shallows at the 
mouth of the river are stretching across toward the first point on 
the eastern slope of the lake, and at the same time the water level 
of the lake is evidently subsiding." 

* In 1862 the name of this lake was very properly changed to its present Indian 
one, of "Lake Tah'oe" pronounced, however, by the Indians, Tah'oo which means, 
"big water," and as such, it has since been known to every tourist. 







WHENEVER nature steps out of her usual course to make any 
thing very beautiful or very wonderful, it is not unreasonable to 
expect that men and women, generally, will be gratefully willing 
to go out of their- way to see it. It is true that many men love 
money more than they love nature, others love nature more than 
money, and yet often feel too poor, almost, to gratify that love ; 
others have become so much habituated to the same stool in the 
counting-house, the same old chair in the office, and the same fa- 
miliar standing-place in the store, and the same spot in the work- 
shop, mine, or field, that nothing short of an earthquake, or rev- 
olution, could induce them to turn aside from the well-worn high- 
ways of business habit, to see any thing beyond themselves and 
their business routine. In their eyes it is the Alpha and Omega of 
life, the beginning and end of all things, yea, life itself. Unfortu- 
nately, habit unfits them for any thing beyond the man-machine. 
The blue sky, the bright sunshine, the flower-carpeted earth, the 
foliage-clothed trees, the moss-grown caverns, the mighty hills, or 
the forest-formed harps, touched by the fingers of the wind, and 
playing their grand old anthems of praise, have an inviting and 
suggestive voice, that " man was made for enjoyment as well as duty 
for happiness as well as business;" and the probability is appar- 
ent, that the godlike faculties bestowed upon him, enabling him to 
hold communion with the beautiful and the ennobling, the sublime 
or wonderful, would not have been, if man were not expected to 
be something loftier than a mere humdrum business machine. 

Nature sometimes turns over some new and wonderful pages in 
her glorious old volume, and discovers to men such morsels as the 
groves of mammoth trees, the Yo-Semite Yalley, the Geysers, the 


natural bridges, and caves; and, more recently, the Alabaster cave, 
of El Dorado county. On such occasions there are many persons 
who will find time to open their sight-seeing eyes, and take a 
glimpse, if only to say that they have seen them, lest they should 
be deemed behind the age, or out of the fashion ; but there are 
others again, and their name is legion, who adore, yea almost wor- 
ship, the beautiful, the grand, the astonishing ; from the handful 
of soil, that gives out so many varieties of rare and fragrant flow- 
ers and lucious fruits, to the vast cathedral-formed arches and in- 
tricate draperies of stone, produced by chemical agencies and mys- 
tical combinations, in one or more of nature's great laboratories 
beneath the surface of the earth. With the latter class it is always 
a pleasure to be in company ; as a pleasure shared is always 
doubled ; besides, kindred spirits have a happy faculty of repro- 
duction, denied to others. 


A ledge of limestone rock, resembling marble in appearance, 
cropped out by the side of the El Dorado Valley turnpike road, 
which, after testing, was found to be capable of producing excellent 
lime. Early in the present year, Mr. William Gwynn employed a 
number of men to quarry this rock and build a kiln. To these 
works he gave the name of " Alabaster Lime Quarry and Kiln." 
On the 18th of April, 1860, two workmen, George S. Halterman 
and John Harris, were quarrying limestone from this ledge, when, 
upon the removal of a piece of rock, a dark aperture was visible, 
that was sufficiently enlarged to enable them to enter. A flood of 
light pouring in through the opening made, they proceeded inward 
some fifty feet. Before venturing further, they threw a stone for- 
ward, which falling into water, determined them to procure lights 
before advancing further. 

At this juncture Mr. Gwynn, the owner, came up ; and upon 
being informed of the discovery, sent for candied, to enable them 
to further prosecute their explorations. The result of these, after 
several hours spent, cannot be better described than in Mr. 
Gwynn's own language, in a letter dated April 19th, 1860, ad- 


dressed to Mr. Holmes, a gentleman friend of his, residing in Sac- 
ramento City ; and first published in the Sacramento Bee : 

" Wonders will never cease. On yesterday, we, in- quarrying 
rock, made an opening to the most beautiful cave you ever beheld. 
On our first entrance, we descended about fifteen feet, gradually, 
to the centre of the room, which is one hundred by thirty feet. 
At the north end there is a most magnificent pulpit, in the Epis- 
copal church style, that man ever has seen. It seems that it is, 
and should be called, the ' Holy of Holies.' It is completed with 
the most beautiful drapery of alabaster sterites, of all colors, va- 
rying from white to pink-red, overhanging the beholder. Imme- 
diately under the pulpit there is a beautiful lake of water, extend- 
ing to an unknown distance. We thought this all, but, to our 
great admiration, on arriving at the centre of the first room, we 
saw an entrance to an inner chamber, still more splendid, two 
hundred by one hundred feet, with the most beautiful alabaster 
overhanging, in every possible shape of drapery. Here stands 
magnitude,. giving the instant impression of a power above man; 
grandeur that denes decay ; antiquity that tells of ages unnum- 
bered ; beauty that the touch of time makes more beautiful ; use 
exhaustless for the service of men ; strength imperishable as the 
globe, the monument of eternity the truest earthly emblem of 
that everlasting and unchangeable, irresistible Majesty, by whom, 
and for whom, all things were made." 

As soon as this interesting announcement was noised abroad, 
hundreds of people flocked to see the newly discovered wonder, 
from all the surrounding mining settlements, so that within the 
first six days, it was visited by upwards of four hundred persons ; 
many of whom, we regret to say, possessed a larger organ of ac- 
quisitiveness than of veneration, and laid Yandal hands on some of 
the most beautiful portions within reach, near the entrance. This 
determined the proprietor to close it, until arrangements could be 
made for its protection and systematic illumination ; the better to 
see, and not to touch the specimens. 

At this time, Mr. Gwynn leased the cave to Messrs. Smith & 
Halterman, who immediately began to prepare it for the reception 


of the public, by erecting baricades, platforms, &c. ; and placing a 
large number of lamps at favorable points, for the better illumina- 
tion and inspection of the different chambers. 

The discovery being made in the spring, considerable water was 
standing in some of the deepest of the cavities ; but signs were 
already visible of its recession, at the rate of nearly six inches per 
day ; and in a few weeks it entirely disappeared, leaving the cave 
perfectly dry. This afforded opportunities for further explorations ; 
when it was found that a more convenient entrance could be made, 
with but little labor, from an unimportant room within a few feet 
of the road. This was accordingly done, and this, in addition 
to its convenience, allows of the free circulation of pure air. Hav- 
ing thus given an historical sketch of the discovery, with other 
matters connected with its preservation and management, we shall 
now endeavor to take the reader with us, at least in imagination, 
while describing it and 


As a majority of visitors will, most probably, be from San Fran- 
cisco, it may not be amiss, with the reader's permission, to present 
a brief outline of some of the most interesting sights to be wit- 
nessed, from the deck of the steamboat, on our way up the Sacra- 
mento. A large portion of the route, from that great mercantile 
metropolis of the Pacific to the mouth of the San Joaquhl, has 
been already illustrated and described in the first chapter of this 
work, to which we would again refer his attention.* 

On page twenty-nine, we have described the course of the Stock- 
ton boat as to the right; while that bound for Sacramento City 
sails straight forward, toward the west end of a large, low tule 
flat, lying between the San Joaquin and Sacramento, named Sher- 
man's Island, and here we enter the Sacramento river. The Mon- 
tezuma hills, seen on our right, and a few stunted trees on the left, 
are the only objects in the landscape to relieve the eye, by contrast 
with the low tule swamp, until we approach the new and flourish- 
ing little settlement of Eio Yista. " This town," writes Dr. C. A. 
Kirkpatrick, the obliging postmaster, " is situated about forty-five 





miles below the city of Sacramento, and below the outlets of all 
the large sloughs, or at least two of the largest, Steamboat and 
Cache Creek sloughs uniting with the main, or old Sacramento 
river, just above this place ; making the stream here about one- 
third of a mile wide. The reader will see that, being upon the 
main river, so near its outlet into Suisun Bay, not over twenty 


>r; xi-:s IN CAI.IKUKMA. 


miles, and so far from the mining region, there is a clearer and 
larger .body of water than can be found anywhere else on the 
river. It is to this place that the salmon-fish now resort. Before 
taking the final plunge, they seem here to have turned at bay, 
and are eagerly caught in the following manner : 


" Nets are constructed of stout shoe-thread, first made into skeins, 
then twisted into a cord about the size of common twine, after the 


fWiion of making ropes. It i then, with a wooden needle, man- 
ufactured into a web of open network, from 780 to 1200 feet, or 
130 t< ..'_'. and 15 feet wide. On both -ide of the 

net are email ropes, to which it in fastened. On the rope deaigna- 
r the upper Hide, are placed, at intervals of five or six fec^ 
cork or light, wood, for the purpose of buoys; while on 
.ier line bit- of lead are fastened, to .rink the net in the water. 
1 of the upper line a small buoy, painted any 

dark color which can be efl 1, and at the other end 

make fa-.t. a line fifteen or twenty feet long, for the fisherman to 

. while 1. -ate, and the net. i- 


"Whitehall }>oats are those most generally used in this branch 

of state i rid 11 -try; they are from nineteen to twenty-two feet in 

length of keel, and from four to five feet breadth of beam; this 

nd .style being considered the best. Now, the next thing 

wanted, are two fearless men ; one to manage the boat, and the other 



to cast the net. The net is then, stowed in the after part of the 
boat, and every thing made ready for a haul. 

" Being at what is called the head of the* drift, one of the men 
takes his place in the stern of the boat, and, while the rower pulls 
across the stream, the net is thrown over the stern. Thus is form- 
ed a barrier, or network, almost the entire width of the stream, 
and to the depth of fifteen or twenty feet. The drift is the distance 
on the river which is passed after casting the net, which floats with 
the tide until it is drawn into the boat. This passage, and the draw- 
ing in of the net, completes the process of catching the salmon. 

" In coming in contact with the net, the head of the fish passes 
far enough through the meshes, or openings, to allow the strong 
threads of the net to fall back of and under the gill, and thus 
they are unable to escape, and are effectually caught in the net and 
drawn into the boat. 


"During the year 1852, there were probably as many fish found in 
that part of the Sacramento river before alluded to, as at any time 



previous, and more than at any time since two men with one 
net and boat having caught as many as three hundred fish in the 
course of one night ; the night being the best time to take them, 
on account of their being unable to see and avoid the net. 


" The fish which are caught in the spring are much larger and 
nicer than those caught during the summer months ; the former 
being really a bright salmon-color, and the texture of the flesh 
firm and solid ; while the latter, in appearance, might properly be 
called salmon-color faded, and the flesh soft and unpalatable. This 
difference is no doubt owing to the temperature and composition 
of the water in which the fish maybe sojourning; the cold, salt 
sea water hardening and coloring the flesh, while the* warm, fresh 
river water tends to soften and bleach. 


"They seem to be gregarious in their nature, travelling in herds, 
or, as the fishermen call it, " schools" They do not like a very 
cold climate, as is indicated by their not ascending the rivers on 
the northern coast, except in very limited numbers, until the month 
of July. In those streams where the current is very rapid, their 
rate of speed is supposed to be five or six miles an hour ; but 
where the current is eddying and slow, not more than two miles 
an hour. It has also been ascertained that they will stop for two 
or three days in deep, still water ; no doubt to rest and feed, as 
they choose places where food can be easily procured. 

" There seems to be quite a difference in the size, flavor, and 
habits of the salmon found in the Sacramento, Columbia and 
Frazer rivers ; those of the Sacramento being larger, more juicy, 
more oily, and brighter colored. They are, however, more abun- 
dant in the north, and about half the average weight that of the 
the former being about fifteen pounds ; although early in the spring 
some are caught in the north quite as large as any caught in the 
Sacramento, and weigh from fifty to sixty pounds. 

" In the Gulf of Georgia and Bellingham Bay, and on the Co- 
lumbia, Frazer and Lumna rivers, the salmon are taken by thou- 
sands ; while we of the Sacramento only get them by hundreds. 
One boat, last season, on the Frazer river, in one month, caught 
13,860. There is also one peculiarity with the fish of the north 
every second or third year there are but few salmon in those 
waters, their places being taken by a fish called the hone, which 
come in great numbers, equal if not greater than the salmon. The 
two fish never come in any considerable numbers together. 

" From facts obtained from the freight clerks of the C. S. N. 
Co.'s boats, we learn, that from the principal shipping port of the 
Sacramento river, Rio Vista, there is an average of 150 fish, or 
2,250 pounds, sent each day to market, for five months of the year, 
making a total of 22,500 fish, or 337,500 pounds ; the greater part 
of these are shipped, and used fresh in San Francisco. But this 
number forms but a small proportion of what are caught, the prin- 
cipal part being retained and salted, or smoked, or otherwise pre- 
pared for shipment to various parts of the world many finding 


their way to Australia, and the islands of the .Pacific, as well as 
to New York, and other domestic ports on the Atlantic seaboard." 


About six miles above Rio Yista is the far-famed " Hog's Back." 
This is formed by the settling of the sediment which comes down 
from the rivers above, and is caused by a widening of the stream 
and a decrease in the fall of the river. It extends for about three 
hundred yards in length ; and at the lowest stage of water is about 
five feet from the surface, and at the highest point eleven feet six 
inches. Being affected by the tides, and as they are exactly at 
the same point every two weeks, during the fall season of the year, 
for two or three days at each low tide, a detention of heavily 
freighted vessels, of from one to four hours, will then take place. 

Persons when descending the river, as the steamboat generally 
leaves Sacramento City at two o'clock p. M., have an opportunity 
of knowing when they arrive at the " Hog's Back" by seeing the 
mast of a vessel with the lower cross-trees upon it, and sometimes 
a portion of her bulwarks. This vessel w r as named the Charleston, 
and was freighted principally with quartz machinery, a portion of 
which being for the Gold Hill Quartz Co., at Grass Yalley, she 
had discharged, but, the owners of another and larger portion of 
it not being found, she was returning with it to San Francisco in 
October, 1857, but having struck upon this sand-bank, at a very 
low stage of the water, careened over, and was swamped. Several 
attempts have since been made to take out the machinery, but as 
yet it has defied them all, and being filled with sand, it will be a 
very difficult task for any one ever to set her afloat again, and the 
reward be but poor, inasmuch as it cannot be in any other than 
a spoiled condition, from rust and other causes. 


A short distance above the Hog's Back we arrived at the junc- 
tion of Sutter Slough with Steamboat Slough, and there enter the 
narrowest part of the stream. As this slough is deep and naviga- 
ble, and moreover is about nine miles nearer for sailing through 



than by the main, or " old river," nearly all vessels upward bound 
take this route ; while those on the downward trip (excepting steam- 
boats) generally take the main river, inasmuch as the wind is more 
favorable for their return to San Francisco. 


As we pass through Steamboat Slough, we are impressed with 
the narrowness of the channel for such large vessels, the luxuriant 
foliage of the trees that adorn its banks, and the snug little cabins, 


nearly shut out from sight by wild vines and trees, that are seen at 
intervals on its margin. Indeed the scenery, as you steam up or 
down the river, is picturesque in no slight degree. Here and there, 
as you turn with the sudden windings of the stream, you come 
upon the little boats of fishermen, and sloops, with their sails furl- 
ed like the folded wings of a sea-bird, waiting for the wind. The 
improvements of the husbandman are everywhere seen along the 
shore cottages half hidden among the drooping branches of the 
sycamores, outhouses, haystacks, orchards, and gardens with their 
product of squashes and cabbages piled in huge heaps ; and here 
and there a school-house or church gives a cheerful domestic 
character to the scene. The landscape is diversified by the gnarl- 
ed oaks, with vines clinging about them for support, and their 
branches covered with dark masses of mistletoe. 

Sailing along, probably we may see a small stern-wheel steam- 
scow, puffing away like some odd-shaped and outlandish leviathan, 
named the " Gipsy." She plies between the various ranches and 
gardens on the river and Sacramento City, taking vegetables, grain, 
flour, &c., up to the city, and returning with groceries, dry goods, 
papers, &c. By this means she has created quite a snug little 
business for herself, and become an indispensable visitor to the 
residents. In fact they could not conveniently get along without 

Far away to the eastward, the snow-capped Sierras, with a black 
belt of -pines at their base, and nearer, the mist-draped and purple 
Coast Range, rise on the view. Along the plains are here and 
there seen clumps of trees a sure indication of water; and occa- 
sionally, the charred trunk of some burnt and blasted tree lifts its 
bare branches toward heaven in solitary grandeur. During the 
season when the immense tracts of tules which cover the low lands 
are on fire, the conflagration lends a wild and peculiar beauty to 
the view. 

The levee at Sacramento City with its scenes of bustling activ- 
ity ; its numerous steamboats, dilapidated and otherwise ; its loco- 
motive, puffing and snorting; and all the living tide of industry, 
riding, driving and walking in all directions is at length in view, 


but we have gossiped so much by the way, that we have not the 
space left to devote to a city like this, holding the second rank on 
the Pacific coast, and possessing a population of 14,000 souls, and 
about as many objects of interest as does the City of the Bay ; so 
that we content ourselves by making the best of our way to the 
station, and prepare for 


This great private enterprise and public convenience was com- 
menced in March, 1855, and is the first passenger railroad built in 
California. On the llth of August of the same year, the first car 
was placed upon it ; and on the 3d of February, 1856, it was com- 
pleted to Folsom, a distance of 22J- miles. 

Leaving the depot, at the corner of K street and Levee, we con- 
tinue along the eastern bank of the Sacramento river to E, street, 
where a turning is made to the eastward ; then, passing the beauti- 
ful gardens and cottages on the suburbs of the city, we emerge upon 
a broad oak-studded plain, where the handiwork of the agricultu- 
rist and richness of the soil are everywhere visible, in the luxuriant 
crops seen on every side. Herds of cattle and bands of horses start 
at our approach, as if to make us believe they are frightened at 
the shape and speed of the puffing fiery monster that is advanc- 
ing. Here we see a cross-road; yonder a "station ;" now we rum- 
ble over a viaduct ; then, rattle through an excavation ; amid farm- 
houses and mining settlements, gardens and orchards, until, after 
a ride of an hour and a quarter, we arrive at 


This is a perfect stage-coach Babel ; for, awaiting the train, we 
find conveyances to almost every section of the central mines. As 
our destination, now, is for the " Alabaster Cave," let us be upon 
the look-out for a q.uiet-looking, open-faced (and hearted), middle- 
aged man, who is patiently sitting on the box of his stage, his 
good-natured countenance invitingly saying: "If there are any 
ladies and gentlemen who wish a pleasant ride to-day, to ' Alabas- 
ter Cave,' let them come this way, and then it shall not be my 



fault if it is not one of the most agreeable they ever took." That 
gentleman is Captain Nye. We ask, somewhat hastily, if his is the 
conveyance for the Cave, when a bluff and kindly response is, 
" Yes, sir ; but don't hurry yourself, I shall not start for a few 
minutes, and the day is before us." 

It may not be amiss here to remark, that the Alabaster Cave is 
located on Kidd's ravine, about three-quarters of a mile from its 
debouchment in the north fork of the American River; twelve 
and a half miles from Folsom, by the " Whiskey Bar" road ; and 
ten miles by the El Dorado Valley turnpike ; but, let us give a 
table of distances from all the surrounding country. 

Rattlesnake Bar, 1| miles. 

Pilot Hill, 4 

Gold Hill, Placer Co 6 

Mormon Island, 6 " 

Auburn, 8 " 

Negro Hill, G 

Greenwood Valley, : 9 " 

Lincoln, 9 " 

Folsom, ' 10 and 12$ " 

Uniontown and Coloma, ...... 16 " 


Georgetown, 18 miles. 

Diamond Sp's. & El Dorado City, 20 " 

Iowa Hill, Placer Co. 20 " 

Forest Hill, 20 " 

Placerville, 23 " 

Grass Valley, 30 " 

Sacramento, 32| ' 

Nevada,.. 34 ' 

Marysville, 36 " 


As our coachman is ready, and has given the well-known sig- 
nal " All aboard ;" moreover, as he has way-passengers on the El 
Dorado turnpike route, and none on the former, we, of course, 
give it the preference. 

Erom Folsom, then, our course lies over gently-rolling hills, 
with here and there an occasional bush or tree, to Mormon Island. 
Here, peach-orchards and well cultivated gardens present a grate- 
ful relief to the dry and somewhat dusty road. 

Crossing the south fork of the American by a. long, high, and 
well-built suspension-bridge, we ascend, on an easy grade, to a min- 
ing camp, named Negro Hill. Threading our way among mining 
claims, miners, and ditches, we pass through the town into the 
open country ; where buckeye bushes now perhaps scantily clad 
in dry brown leaves, that bespeak the approach of autumn the 


nut pine, and the dark, rich foliage of white oaks, dot the land- 

Presently we reach the foot of a long hill covered with a dense 
growth of chapparel, composed mostly of chemisal bushes. As we 
ascend, we feel the advantage of having an intelligent and agree- 
able coachman, who not only knows but kindly explains the lo- 
calities visible from the road. 

From the summit of Chapparel Hill, we have a glorious pros- 
pect of the country for many miles. There, is " Monte Diablo," 
sleeping in the purple distance ; yonder, " Butter's Buttes," which 
bespeak at once their prominence and altitude; while the rich 
valley, and the bright silvery sheen of the Sacramento and its 
tributaries, are spread out in beauty before us. The descent to the 
cave on the other side of the hill is very picturesque and beautiful, 
from the shadowy grandeur of the groups of mountains seen in 
the distance. 

Arriving about noon, a good appetite will most likely be sug- 
gestive of a substantial lunch, or dinner. This being quietly over, 
let us indulge in a good rest before presuming to look upon the 
marvels we have come to witness ; and not be like too many, who 
do injustice to themselves and the sights to be seen, by attempt- 
ing them hurriedly, or when the body is fatigued, and consequent- 
ly the mind unfitted for the pleasing task. 


On leaving the hotel, it is but a short and pleasant walk to the 
cave. At our right hand, a few steps before reaching it, there 
is a lime-kiln a perpetual lime-kiln which, being interpreted, 
means one in which the article in question can be continually 
made, without the necessity of cooling off, as under the old method. 
Here a large portion of the lime consumed in San Francisco, is 
manufactured. It is hauled down to Folsom or Sacramento in 
wagons, as return freight, and from thence transported below. To 
see this kiln at night, in full blast, as we did, is a sight which alone 
would almost repay the trouble of a visit. The redhot do*ors at 
the base, with the light flashing on the faces of the men as they 




stir the fire, or, " wood-up," with the flames escaping out from the 
top ; and when to this is added the deep ravine, darkened by tall, 
overhanging, and large-topped trees and shrubs ; while high aloft 
sails the moon, throwing her silvery scintillations on every object 
around, from the foliage-draped hill, to the bright little rivulet 
that murmurs by description is impossible. 

At these works, there are forty barrels of lime manufactured 
every twenty-four hours. To produce these, three and a half cords 
of wood are consumed, costing, for cutting only, $1 75 per cord. 
To haul this to the works, requires a man and team constantly. 


Two men are employed to excavate the rock, and two more to at- 
tend to the burning relieving each other at the furnace every 
twelve hours; from morn to midnight. 

The rock, as will be seen in the engraving, is supplied from the 
top, and is drawn from the bottom every six hours, both day and 


When entering the cave from the road as indicated in the en- 
graving, by the group of figures opposite the two trees behind the 
lime-kiln we descend some three or four steps to a board floor. 
Here is a door that is always carefully locked, when no visitors 
are within. Passing on, w r e reach a chamber about twenty-five 
feet in length by seventeen feet in width, and from five feet to 
twelve feet six inches in height. This is somewhat curious, al- 
though very plain and uneven at both roof and sides. Here also 
is a desk, on which is a book, inscribed, " Coral Cave Register." 
This book was presented by some gentlemen of San Francisco who 
believed that " Coral Cave" would be the most appropriate name. 
The impression produced on our mind at the first w T alk through it, 
was that "Alabaster Cave" would be equally as goo$ a name; 
but, upon examining it more thoroughly afterward we thought 
that a greater proportion of the ornaments at the root of the 
stalactites being like beautifully frozen mosses or very fine coral, 
and the long icicle-looking pendants being more like alabaster 
the former name was to be preferred. But, as the name of " Ala- 
baster" had been given to the works by Mr. Gwynn, on account 
of the purity and whiteness of the limestone found, even before 
the cave was discovered, we cheerfully acquiesce in the nomencla- 
ture given. The register was opened April 24th, 1860, and on 
our visit, September 30th ensuing, 2,721 names had been entered. 
Some three or four hundred persons visited it before a register was 
thought of, and many more declined entering their names ; so that 
the number of persons who entered this cave the year of its dis- 
covery, must have exceeded three thousand. 

Advancing along another passage, or room, several notices at- 
tract our eye, such as, " Please not touch the specimens," " ~No 


smoking allowed," " Hands and feet off," (with feet scratched out) 
amputation of those members not intended ! The low shelving 
roof, at the left and near the end of the passage, is covered with 
coral-like excrescences, resembling bunches of coarse rock-moss. 
This brings us to the entrance of 


Before us is a broad, oddly-shaped, and low-roofed chamber, 
about one hundred and twenty feet in length by seventy feet in 
breadth, and ranging from four to twenty feet in height. 

Bright coral -like stalactites hang down in irregular rows, and 
in almost every variety of shape and shade, from milk-white to 
cream-color ; standing in inviting relief to the dark arches above, 
and the frowning buttresses on either hand ; while low-browed 
ridges, some almost black, others of a reddish-brown, stretch from 
either side, between which the space is ornamented with a peculiar 
coloring that resembles a grotesque kind of graining. 

Descending toward the left, we approach one of the most beau- 
tiful stalactitic groups in this apartment. Some of these are fine 
pendants, XLO larger than pipe-stems, tubular, and from two to five 
feet in length. Three or four there were, over eight feet long; 
but 'the early admitted Yandals destroyed or carried them off. 
Others resemble the ears of white elephants (if such an animal 
could be known to natural history), while others, again, present 
the appearance of long and slender cones, inverted. 

By examining this and other groups more closely, we ascertain 
that at their base are numerous coral-like excrescences of great 
beauty ; here, like petrified moss, brilliant, and almost transpar- 
ent ; there, a pretty fungus, tipped with diamonds ; yonder, like 
minature pine-trees, which, to accommodate themselves to circum- 
stances, have grown with their tops downward. In other places, 
are apparent fleeces of the finest Merino wool, or floss silk. 

Leaving these, by turning to the right we can ascend a ladder, 
and see other combinations of such mysterious beauty as highly 
to gratify and repay us. Here is the loftiest part of this chamber. 

Leaving this, you arrive at a large stalagmite that resembles a 


tying-post for horses, and which has been dignified, or mystified, 
by such names as " Lot's wife" (if so, she was a very dwarf of a 
woman, as its altitude is but four feet three inches, and its cir- 
cumference, at the base, three feet one inch), " Hercules' club," 
" Brobdignag's fore-finger," &c. 

Passing on, over a small rise of an apparently snow-congealed 
or petrified floor, we look down into an immense cavernous depth, 
whose roof is covered with icicles and coral, and whose sides are 
draped with jet. In one of these awe-giving solitudes is suspend- 
ed a heart, that, from its size, might be imagined to belong to one 
of a race of human giants. 

On one side of this, is an elevated and nearly level natural floor, 
upon which a table and seats have been temporarily erected, for 
the convenience of choristers, or for public worship. It would 
have gratified us beyond measure to have heard these " vaulted 
hills" resound the symphonies of some grand anthem from Mozart, 
or Haydn, or Mendelssohn. Many of the pendant harps would 
have echoed them in delicious harmonies from chamber to cham- 
ber, and carried them around, from roof to wall, throughout the 
whole of these rock-formed vistas. 

We must not linger here too long, but enter other little cham- 
bers, in whose roofs are formations that resemble streams of water 
that have been arrested in their flow, and turned to ice. In anoth- 
er, a perfectly formed beet, from one point of view ; and from 
another, the front of a small elephant's head. A beautiful bell- 
shaped hollow, near here, is called "Julia's bower!" 

Advancing along a narrow, low-roofed passage, we emerge into 
the most beautiful chamber of the whole suite, entitled 


It is impossible to find suitable language or comparisons with 
which to describe this magnificent spot. From the beginning, we 
have felt that we were almost presumptuous in attempting to por- 
tray these wonderful scenes ; but, in the hope of inducing others 
to see, with their natural eyes, the sights that we have seen, and 
enjoy the pleasure that we have enjoyed, we entered upon the task, 



even though inadequately, of giving an outline nothing more. 
Here, however, we confess ourselves entirely at a loss. Miss 
Maude Neeham, a young lady visitor from Yreka, has succeeded 
in giving an admirable idea of this sublime sight, in some excel- 
lent drawings, made upon the spot ; two of which we have en- 
graved, and herewith present to the reader. 

The sublime grandeur of this imposing sight fills the soul with 
astonishment, that swells up from within as though its purpose 
was to make the beholder speechless the language of silence be- 
ing the most fitting and impressive, when puny man treads the 
great halls of nature, the more surely to lead him, humbly, from 
these, to the untold glory of the Infinite One, who devised the 
laws, and superintended the processes, that brought such wonders 
into being. 

After the mind seems prepared to examine this gorgeous spec- 
tacle somewhat in detail, we look upon the ceiling, if we may 
so speak, which is entirely covered with myriads of the most 
beautiful of stone icicles, long, large, and brilliant; between these, 
are squares, or panels the mullions or bars of which seem to be 
formed of diamonds ; while the panels themselves resemble the 
frosting upon windows in the very depth of winter ; and even these 
are of many colors that most prevailing being of a light pinkish- 
cream. Moss, coral, floss, wool, trees, and many other forms, adorn 
the interstices between the larger of the stalactites. At the far- 
ther end is one vast mass of rock, resembling congealed water, 
apparently formed into many folds and little hillocks ; in many 
instances connected by pillars with the roof above. Deep down, 
and underneath this, is the entrance by which we reached this 

At our right stands a large stalagmite, dome-shaped at the top,' 
and covered with beautifully undulating and wavy folds. Every 
imaginary gracefulness possible to the most curiously arranged 
drapery, is here visible, " carved in alabaster" by the Great Archi- 
tect of the universe. This is named " The Pulpit." 

In order to examine this object with more minuteness, a tempo- 
rary platform has been erected, which, although detractive of the 




general effect, in our opinion, affords a nearer and better view of 
all these remarkable objects in detail. 

This spectacle, as well as the others, being brilliantly illumina- 
ted, the scene is very imposing, and reminds one of those highly- 


wrought pictures of the imagination, painted in such charming 
language, and with such good effect, in such works as the " Ara- 
bian Nights." 

Other apartments, known as the " Picture Gallery," &c., might 
detain us longer ; but, as they bear a striking resemblance, in many 
respects, to other scenes already described, we must take our leave, 
in the hope that we have said enough to enlist an increased atten- 
tion in favor of this new California wonder. 

The ride being agreeable, the fare cheap, the coachman oblig- 
ing, the guides attentive, and the spectacle one of the most sin- 
gular and imposing in the state, we say to every one, " Go and 
see it" 

Those who prefer going by railroad from San Francisco to 
Sacramento instead of by water, can make choice of two routes : 
First, via the California Pacific Railroad as foltows : Taking 
steamboat at Yallejo Street wharf at 8 o'clock A. M. and at 3 : 30 
p. M., arriving at Yallejo in about two hours. Thence by C. P. 
R.R. to Sacramento, arriving at 12 : 15 o'clock p. M. and at 7 : 45. 
p. M. Distance 85 miles, 25 by steamboat and 60 by railway. 
Fare $3. Second, via the Western Pacific Railroad, through 
Stockton to Sacramento, as follows : Start from Alameda Ferry 
at 8 o'clock A. M. and at 4 p. M., reach Oakland in thirty 
minutes. Thence by "W. P. R.R. to Sacramento, arriving at 2 
o'clock P. M. and 10 p. M. Distance 138 miles, 8 by steamboat 
and 130 by railway. Fare $3. Both routes are picturesque and 
full of interesting changes of scenery. 


On page 92, 10th line from top of page, leave out, " Here we change horses." 
" 115, for " 2550," read " 2634." 
" 130, 15th line from top of page, "CEnothera" should come after "primroses." 


2CP 1 ' ^ - 





3 oks to the Circulation Desk 


FO RM NO. OD6, 60., , / BERKELEY. CA 94720 ^ 

YC 58329